Archives for Restoration

Trauma Healing: The Snail Model

Talking about forgiveness ….

My blog post a few days ago was about the intellectual concept of forgiveness.  But there’s much more to forgiveness than merely what we “think” about or “decide” to do.  When bad things happen to us, our whole being, including our body, is affected.  This, in turn, affects how we relate to ourselves and to each other.  It’s not my goal to beat people over the head and be judgmental about telling people they should “forgive” or “just move on”.  That is not helpful.  My goal is to help people reach an authentic state of peace.  For a person who has been the victim of trauma, this can be challenging.

Cutting edge research shows that people who are victimized by violence need treatment for more than their physical wounds.  They need help in rewriting the story of their lives in a way that gives coherence and meaning.

The following video illustrates the “Snail Model” of trauma healing, as taught by the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.  The Snail Model is so named because it describes a spiraling model where conflict begets more conflict, in a circular fashion, unless some intervention can break the cycle and cause the circle to change shape into a spiral towards healing.  In other words, it is a model for breaking the cycle of conflict, basically providing a roadmap for people who have experienced painful events in their lives to see a process by which they may be healed, not just physically but mentally and spiritually.  A printable illustration by Olga Botcharova can be found HERE.

If you are suffering from the effects of violence, or if you know someone who is, I encourage you to print this and share it with the person who is affected.

Sometimes even just seeing a model like this will result in an “aha” moment.  The person will see where they are on the cycle and gain insight that will help them heal.  Not everyone needs (or has the luxury of engaging in) therapy with a caring and trusted counselor.  But regardless of whether the mental and spiritual wounds from trauma is small or large, it can help a person just to know that what they are experiencing is normal, that they are not alone.

Panic, anger, sleeplessness, fantasies of revenge — these are not signs of insanity, they are normal.  And there IS a path to healing.  It may be slow, it may be challenging.  But a person who has been victimized by crime, by war, by a terrible auto accident, can walk that path to healing.  No matter what the physical wounds, a person who has experienced trauma can can achieve spiritual and mental peace so that they can sleep at night and feel right with the world.

No matter what your circumstances, I want to assure you, there IS HOPE for peace.

This is a particular issue not just with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, but also for anyone who has been affected by crime or violence.  Even, perhaps, in our own families.   Whether this model may apply to you, or to someone you know, please be aware of it and be ready to share the hope, and the help, when the time comes.

I hope you find this video helpful.  If you do, please leave a comment to share how it helped you.

Three Blog Posts on Restorative Justice

Here are links to three posts in Skinner’s personal peacemaking blog, Peaceworks,  on the topic of Restorative Justice:

Post #1:  What Is Restorative Justice

Post #2:  How Restorative Justice Works

Post #3:  Restorative Justice as Applied Through Restorative Circles

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Deeper Theory of Peacemaking

The model for peacemaking comes from deep, spiritual theory of compassion and love.  Learn more in this slideshow.  Far from being easy, simple, or cowardly, waging peace requires insight, courage, and compassion. 

Waging Peace

The Four G’s of Christian Conflict Resolution

In earlier blog posts, I’ve written about general principles of Christian mediation and the type of mediation of complex group situations that could be labeled as “church mediation” — mediation for Christian organizations.  This post is for someone who desires to know more.

While there’s no “magic formula” for the process of reconciliation, Kenneth Sande and Peacemaker Ministries have enunciated some helpful methods for remembering the process.  One of these is called “The Four G’s of Reconciliation”.  True to its name, it enunciates four simple”G’s” we can remember as we address conflict:

(1) Glorify God: Ask, “How can I please and glorify God in this situation?”

  • 1 Cor. 10:31 (“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”)
  • Prov. 3:4-6 (“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own uderstanding; in all your ways acknowledge him . . . . “)
  • John 14:15 (“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”)
  • Eph. 5:1 (“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”)

(2) Get the Log out of Your Own Eye (Matthew 7:5). It is important to admit your own wrongs honestly and thoroughly. One’s own wrongs can take two forms. One form is a critical, negative, or overly sensitive attitude that has led to unnecessary conflict. Another form is actual sinful words and actions.

When confessing wrong, the “Seven A’s of Confession” can be helpful:

  • Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
  • Avoid the words if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
  • Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
  • Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
  • Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
  • Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
  • Ask for forgiveness

(See Matthew 7:3-5; 1 John 1:8-9; Proverbs 28:13.)

(3) Gently Restore: the theme is restoration, not condemnation. Galations 6:1: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.”

  • metaphor of a loving shepherd who goes to look for a wandering sheep and then rejoices when it is found (Matt. 18:12–14)
  • Jesus repeats this theme just after telling us to “go and show him his fault” by adding, “If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”
  • And then he hits the restoration theme a third time in verses 21–35, where he uses the parable of the unmerciful servant to remind us to be as merciful and forgiving to others as God is to us (Matt. 18:21–35).
  • It is appropriate to overlook minor offenses

As a general rule, an offense should be overlooked if you can answer “no” to all of the following questions:

  • Is the offense seriously dishonoring God?
  • Has it permanently damaged a relationship?
  • Is it seriously hurting other people? And
  • Is it seriously hurting the offender himself?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, an offense is too serious to overlook, in which case God commands you to go and talk with the offender privately and lovingly about the situation. As you do so, remember to:

  • Pray for humility and wisdom
  • Plan your words carefully (think of how you would want to be confronted)
  • Anticipate likely reactions and plan appropriate responses (rehearsals can be very helpful)
  • Choose the right time and place (talk in person whenever possible)
  • Assume the best about the other person until you have facts to prove otherwise (Prov. 11:27)
  • Listen carefully (Prov. 18:13)
  • Speak only to build others up (Eph. 4:29)
  • Ask for feedback from the other person
  • Recognize your limits (only God can change people; see Rom. 12:18; 2 Tim. 2:24-26)

(4) Go and Be Reconciled

Just think, however, how you would feel if God said to you, “I forgive you; I just don’t want to have anything to do with you again”?

Praise God that he never says this! Instead, he forgives you totally and opens the way for genuine reconciliation. He calls you to forgive others in exactly the same way: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col. 3:12-14; see also 1 Cor. 13:5; Psalm 103:12; Isa. 43:25). One way to imitate God’s forgiveness is to make the Four Promises of Forgiveness when you forgive someone:

  • “I will not dwell on this incident.”
  • “I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.”
  • “I will not talk to others about this incident.”
  • “I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.”

If you want to learn more, please let me know and I’ll help you with resources.  My phone number is 803-414-0185.

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