Processing Nashville

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans10 Minutes

Healing From Another Mass Shooting

Once again a broken person has shattered our world, pierced our collective soul, and created a cry for change. There is hope in our pain. It is a sign of life, an indication that we understand things are not as they ought to be. So what do we do with these assaults to our soul? Do we really believe God can bring good from incomprehensible evil (Romans 8:28)?

The natural response to sin — and that’s what these tragedies are — can be found in the Garden of Eden. Blame and shame. In desperate pursuit of justice, we begin blaming our personal pet villains. Frightened, angry hearts cry out, politicizing the grief and polarizing other broken hearts. Justice and change are good goals, but divisive arguing does not lead to a place of healing. Sin plagues all of us — and the cure is individual — one life at a time.

And yes, one person matters, as the agents of evil show so clearly. One person living out the love of Christ matters even more. Will you be that one? Set aside your opinions, your soap boxes, and seek the presence of our holy, righteous God of love. We need a Christian army intent on bringing healing to this broken world.

This well-worn phrase contains deep truth: hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people. Each of us must take responsibility for healing the trauma in our souls from these assaults before we can become healers of the collective soul. The Living Word of God, the printed Jesus, gives us a pattern for healing. He is the way for us to become what God desires us to be: an ecclesia (a called out people) of healed hearts ready to heal others.

How do we comprehend the unfathomable?

Processing trauma has become a necessity in the 21st century, and the rising rates of mental health issues indicate we’re not doing a very good job at it. The brokenness of this world is not the will of God, and we are fully equipped to bring His will to the world!

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3)

Fellow Christian, we have the answer — it’s Jesus, and we are His ambassadors. We’re coming into the week of the Christian calendar that points the way for us. The death of Christ tore open the heavens and the curtain separating the religious from the Righteous One. Every assault on life is an attack on the good purposes of God.

Let’s join Jesus on the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering, and be part of restoring life to broken souls. God’s plan hasn’t changed — the prophets proclaimed it, John the Baptist shouted it: repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand. Here are three simple, timeless steps that will advance us toward God’s good plans:

  • Grieve over the state of our world, and humbly beg for God’s help.
  • Get real with God about our own failure to worship and honor Him.
  • Go live out the love and forgiveness God pours into our open hearts.


The first step is grieving. Lives are precious — and when a soul leaves this earth, our hearts should grieve. We must return to loving life, loving what God has given. We must feel the pain of the loss of what is good. And life is good. It’s a gift from God.

Seeking God and spending time in His presence is good. We must feel the grief of lives disconnected from God — the heartbreak of brokenness that comes when Truth is rejected. We need to let God break our hearts for what breaks His so we can arrive at the place Isaiah came to:

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5).

If we really see God, we will stop our self-righteous posturing and stomping our feet for the changes we want. We will bow before the Lord of Hosts, the God of Angel Armies and ask for instruction.

Get Real

And it’s likely the first instruction from the Lord will be, “Get real with Me. Stop hiding behind religious platitudes and performances. None of us are righteous (Romans 3:23), but in His sovereign, holy goodness, God deigns to live in these clay vessels we call a body. When we begin to recognize the vast gulf between His glory and our flesh, the ground of our heart begins to be prepared for seeds of humility that produce life. None of that happens naturally or painlessly.

We have an immense privilege as believers. God allows us to be vessels of His glory. Too often, we begin to think it’s our glory, but it’s not. It is all His, only His, and always for His purposes. The life we live, we are to live for Him. That will not happen without getting honest about our own lack of vision — we need to see God for who He is and see His mercy for our failings. We need to embrace His righteousness and His wrath. Only then can His perfect, healing agape love rush down to heal our hearts and produce a harvest of hope! Until God’s love fills our own heart, we have nothing to give this world that will produce lasting goodness (1 John 4:8).

Go Love

Love is an overused word, and we overestimate our capacity for love on a regular basis. God’s love (1 Corinthians 13) doesn’t look like the standard variety of earthly love. It is sacrificial, other-centered, undemanding, and absolutely transformational. You can’t give it if you haven’t received it.

The good that can come from this latest senseless tragedy is the “circumcising” of our hearts — the cutting away of the deadness that inflates our view of ourselves and exposes the glory of God. When we drink of His love, we can’t keep the goodness to ourselves. We’ll sacrifice to bring others to the fountain of love. We won’t drag them there or scream out condemnation, we’ll love like God loves, and that is irresistible.

Brother or sister-in-Christ, we can be agents of change in this world. It’s what we’re called to do. Don’t let despair crush your soul. Feel the pain of this broken world and let it drive you to the healing of Jesus Christ. And then, “get in the game” — be an agent of change for eternal good!

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever (Hebrews 13:20-21).