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When Soldiers Come Home

They may be out of the combat zone, but the war is far from over.

A soldier's safe return is a joyous occasion for both soldier and family, but many former soldiers continue to fight emotional and spiritual battles long after they don civilian clothes. As a result, pastors and churches will want to consider how best to minister to returning soldiers and their families. Major John Morris, a chaplain with the Minnesota Army National Guard, offers tips for churches ministering to military families when their loved one returns:

1. Listen, support, absolve, and don't condemn. Soldiers need a place where they can share the experiences of war that may trouble them. They need a safe place where they can do theological inquiry, to question and grow in their understanding of God, which is so necessary for anyone who has suffered trauma. They need a place where they can gain the strength needed to grow through their combat experience and on into the person God is calling them to be. A church that will provide a listening ear, a place for confession, and a heart ...

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