How can Christians go beyond a “thoughts and prayers” perspective of trauma and suffering? Those who have experienced trauma, from soldiers to sexual assault survivors, often hesitate to trust members of their community. Sometimes members of the church then ostracize those who experience trauma rather than recognizing their vulnerability and suffering and responding to them with love. Especially when trauma affects whole communities, establishing trust to help them recover from trauma can take years of hard work.
In this episode, Dr. Dru Johnson interviews Dr. Scott Harrower of Ridley College, a former emergency department nurse, about the biblical response to trauma. Scott explains the psychology of PTSD and how Christians should respond to psychological suffering and help people recover from trauma. From there, they discuss the roots of Pauline perspectives on comfort in the Hebrew Bible. Finally, they discuss the biblical emphasis on God equipping His people to comfort the vulnerable, rather than providing sudden or supernatural solutions.
- 0:00 Introducing Scott Harrower
- 2:09 The psychology of trauma
- 5:10 PTSD and trust
- 11:15 How the Hebrew Bible addresses trauma
- 14:50 How Christians should respond to suffering communities
- 17:38 The character of people who work for restoration and reconciliation
- 21:07 Concluding thoughts
For more of Dr. Scott Harrower’s work, check out God of All Comfort: A Trinitarian Response to the Horrors of This World, a work on trauma, horror, and how the doctrine of the Trinity can help address the problem of evil.