Trauma is what changes us


For over 11 years, I have gone from villages to cities and from private conversations to high-standing podiums; teaching that change is possible. My message is not anything new or special, it has been preached and taught by every visible and invisible person; it is not a scarce message; on the contrary, it is on almost every lip. Still, it doesn’t seem like people are changing and things are not changing that much either. With so much said, and so much done; so much received and so much given; so much enjoyed and so much suffered; as much as so much removed and so much installed.

Well, I have realized that people do not change unless they are traumatized!

Before you label me as a heartless person, stay with me a few more lines; you will understand what you already know. 

Until there was a world war, every debate about giving the female gender a chance to do more than housekeeping was not given a chance. Women were to remain in the background until fighting in the war killed or maimed most eligible men and breadwinners of their homes and their women had to step up to fill in the gap, to make provision for the family. When things returned to normal and values and roles in families, hitherto reinforced by religion and culture, were restored; the useful place of women, in providing for their homes became threatened again because of the trauma their sudden freedom dealt on their men. Many women, upon discovering their own financial freedom, treated their husbands [now maimed or disabled] with disrespect . . . they did not handle their freedom with enough grace. An inevitable change followed; there was a deliberate effort to limit the expression of women by their men. That became a vicious cycle of reactions and counter reactions; of changes that have both benefits and troubles, all bundled into one. It is till ongoing today.

With respect to the Church of Christ, for many years, I have been an advocate for the need to disciple people instead of raising armies of followers, who answer to their leaders, not necessarily responding to Christ, the Head of the Church. We have enjoyed the patronage of billions of members, who don’t necessarily need to have a personal relationship with God; one that could strengthen and build them up enough to make their leaders as irrelevant [not in a negative way] as possible. We chose ministrations [one person ministering to many, with him growing and the audience just benefitting from his or her growth] over fellowship [each one making disciples of each other and growing together]. The counsel to do what Christ actually commanded [making disciples] was heard; none of the leaders would deny they heard it because it was preached from every corner of the world, not just by me. Well, your guess is as good as mine; they have fallen on deaf ears and were hardly considered by indifferent mind. Most church leaders’ unspoken thoughts were “If what I am doing is working for me, why change it? The status quo remains please!” Here we are, the trauma from COVID-19 has put a hold on large gatherings and suddenly, the absence of true discipleship is bleeding the church of its strength and power to impact significantly. Like everyone else, we are scrambling to use technology to hold unto what we thought we had. I do sincerely hope this trauma will change us for good . . . Amen.

Somewhere, in a limitless world, some fellow decides to use his or her knowledge to live according to his own beliefs. In the absence of boundaries, it did not take so long before other lives and things starts to suffer because of the choices of this life. Well-meaning and loving friends and loved ones would pray and counsel the fellow to change his or her ways and it will all fall on deaf ears until a trauma comes . . . an accident that almost took his or her life, a severe loss of someone or something precious – freedom, finances, faith, future, etc. Suddenly, a drastic change happens to this person; it happens to all things around him or her; for better or worse.

Until a president’s choice traumatizes the nation in a negative way, there would hardly be a strong motivation to change the nation’s political leadership.

Until a community is traumatized by the decision or indecision of its leaders, the voice of change would be regarded as that of dissension and those speaking would be seen as rebels. Until the choices of a father and husband in the family is imposing serious trauma on the well-being of the family, he is not likely to listen to his wife and children’s call for review in how things are done. I am sure you know most grandparent still thinks they know it all until traumatic loss comes to their ability to physically and mentally exercise themselves and change becomes inevitable.

Until an individual is traumatized by his or her environment or situation, a product of his or her choices, one that he or she has not been interested in reviewing for years because it was still working, he or she is not likely going to consider changing it. How many people have disdained the idea of starting a business because they were still gainfully employed until major trauma like COVID-19 or other economic meltdowns comes to take the job away? How many people have refused to keep a healthy and hygienic lifestyle because they are too busy to pay attention until a major health trauma threatens to take away their life; and now they wash their hands more frequently and eat balanced diets instead of junks?

Change is coming! Inevitable now, change has come!

Negatively or positively, change comes immediately after every trauma; without one, it is not likely people will change themselves or their culture [way of life]. A real change, without a preceding trauma, is like waiting for a crab to blink. Changes do not come easy! Though we may detest the idea that change is a product of a traumatic experience, it comes anyway! It is as drastic as the degree of trauma that precedes it. The change in not to the normal, it is the future mis-normal that is consistent with the original design.

Let your trauma change you, not just the things around you.

Let the change be restorative, not a reinforcement of what produced the trauma.

Let your change be sincere, not forced; it is the only guarantee that it will profit you.

Let all that was, that is, and that is to come change you for better.