As a soldier I was a medic. It was my job in the field to be the first line of defense, stripping them from the grips of death and bringing them back to safety where they can be fully treated medically. In doing that there were certain approaches I would take (all taught by the military) which may not be the most eloquent or long term solutions, yet they saved lives. When on the field I focused more on people bleeding out than anything else. In fact this was what we did most of our drills with. We were also told that human life is SOOO important we are required to treat enemy combatants who are injured as well. Which sounds crazy, but the way our laws work is that if our army is on a mission and you’ve become injured and not killed we are required to treat you after we have safely eliminated whatever threat we have encountered. This includes the actual perpetrator of that threat if they are wounded and no longer a threat. Anyways, our acronym to remind us the ORDER we should evaluate and treat people was HABC.
- Hemorrhage-bleeding out
- Airway- Is their airway clear/functional
- Breathing- If their airway is functional how is their breathing pattern? I.e. looking for rapid shallow breathing, paradoxical motion, or other things that signify a deeper issue.
- Circulation- IV fluid etc.
In the field if I were to jump past H and go to A, or any other change in the process, it would likely lead to missing something major and cause death.
When I was back on post I would see many of those same soldiers. My job, though still focused on sustaining their life, had different priorities. I evaluated them as a whole (nutrition, exercise, sleep patterns, etc.) and then determined the best course of action to fully heal their problems. I continued to evaluate their wounds until they were fully healed but I was looking at recovery methods, how to better live after the damage had been caused. We nursed the wound but focused on teaching them what they should do to recover in the best way possible. Since we had them CONNECTED to monitors I GENERALLY assumed I didn’t need to check the HABC’s in the same way if they weren’t complaining about the HABC’s or weren’t clearly delusional.
Imagine now if I were in a combat situation, behind enemy lines, receiving fire. There are soldiers around me who are bleeding from their backs and don’t realize it, other’s laying on the floor in anguish crying out for help. Yet, instead of looking around for people dying or actively moving towards those who are clearly in danger of death I am looking around for people who are on board with my nutrition plan. Shouting out: “If you had been eating better you wouldn’t be as bad off. A good nights rest is vital for battle readiness. Does anyone need more information or clarification on our nutrition plans?”
In the same way imagine if I were in the Aid Station (mini hospital) and still only focused on keeping them alive. Instead of teaching them how to recover from their wounds or treating their secondary issues now I only made sure they were alive.
In either circumstance I would be chastised and highly disciplined by my leadership for my failure to properly evaluate my priorities. Both approaches are vital and necessary, but not applicable in all circumstances. A normally necessary action in the wrong circumstance is not helpful.
As a pastor I have been learning how this same approach is openly ignored among christians and pastors.
We go out into the dying world and preach doctrine, right living, purity, etc. while they are all laying around on the ground bleeding out. Then we return to our churches were we focus only on the basics of the Gospel instead of full recovery regardless of the difficulty. We have flipped the script and think that our recovery efforts (sanctification) are somehow bringing life…
We’ve got to stop looking at the unsaved and think “these are the problems.” There is ONE problem with the world and it isn’t BECAUSE of their “evil decisions”, it is the CAUSE of their decisions. Instead of trying to preach better health to the dying we need to be applying life saving maneuvers and forget about the rest until they get into the Aid Station.
In like manner we have to start ACTUALLY helping other’s recover within our churches instead of just looking around and agreeing we are all alive. If we have the Gospel planted within our hearts then it is time to start the road to recovery from our sinful wounds. Pastors are here to provide treatment to those rescued, and help them on the road to recovery. Of course there are other responsibilities but we CANNOT NEGLECT THIS, nor preach it to people who are dying.
A quick caveat: We were taught to triage, and treat in order of need/efficiency in treating. That means if I see three soldiers who are all dying but two only need tourniquets, I go there first. I apply the tourniquets and keep moving because it will lead to MORE lives being saved QUICKER.
No analogy is perfect but I am telling you right now that the enemy has put countless people in our paths to distract us from saving people who are dying and only need the Gospel. He wants us to be preoccupied with an enemy soldier who doesn’t want help and will only attempt to kill us if we try. He wants us to be preoccupied with them as others are dying all around us crying out for help. Now I would be required to track back and treat the enemy, but priorities dictate treating the most needy/fastest helped first.
We have flocks of christians out in a dying world handing vitamins to each other to better manicure their experience all while watching people bleed out around them. Some reach out and help. Some try to help by giving vitamins. Others simply want to argue why they should be accepting our help, and why our help is legitimate.
Again, no perfect demonstration here, but this is a reminder that God didn’t call us to go to the world and beat people into submission. He called us to go out and rescue anyone who is willing to receive it.