Apparently, FoxNews.com was trying to summarize the article, but they never said so, nor did they do it justice. Even more, they made up a quote to get your attention. The article does not have those words, "I'm a monster. God won't forgive me." No one ever said that in relation to this article, but it sure gets your attention.
But let's jump to the focus of the article of the AP. The writer of the article, Pauline Jelinek, was trying to show that there is a difference between post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and moral injuries. She defines moral injuries as, "wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates one's moral code." These moral injuries are common in war, because what is allowed in war, "the law of war," is not often allowed in one's own life and soul. In short, Ms. Jelinek revealed to us that PTSD is different than moral injuries, and the military is struggling with how to help people with the guilt, shame and rage that comes from moral injuries. She also expressed that troops who have struggled with ethical or spiritual problems have often been sent to the chaplain. Unfortunately, she does not explore what the chaplains do to help these men or women; she does not delve into that issue.
What would you say to a person who is ravaged by guilt because they may have killed several people in battle,or not in battle? Or for non-war moral injuries, what would you say to a person who cheated on her husband or to a person who lied to their parents or a person who stole something? How do you get rid of that guilt?
I believe there is an answer for those troops and for you and I.
David, a king of Israel, discovered the answer. He wrote a psalm in which he was experiencing much guilt for sin. He described the anguish of his guilt this way, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer." Have you ever been there? Have you ever been in such agony? But then David writes, "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5 NIV)" Confession of sin to God brought about the healing of guilt. (See also 1 John 1:9) Keeping it hidden from God and others creates much of the problem. Admitting our moral failure especially to God begins the healing process.
When we explore who Jesus is as the mediator between God and mankind, and how he took our sins upon himself, we will come to a conclusion as the apostle Paul, who also had a whole list of crimes under his belt, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)" The guilt and shame disappear as we understand who Jesus is and what he has accomplished for us. He came to give us a new life not bound to the baggage of guilt and shame of past sin. He came to "set us free."
We all have moral injuries. Ms. Jelinek realizes the military has a problem. They know there are troops suffering from moral injuries, but in my words, there is an unwritten code to be silent, for those moral injuries are a sign of weakness. The answer, however, is in confession, not in silence. The answer is in Jesus Christ. In him those moral injuries which cause guilt and shame may be healed, or in the words of Scripture, "by his wounds we are healed."
Peace be with you!