Imagine the scene of a hectic emergency room at a local hospital. The frantic pace can appear chaotic to someone who's there for a medical emergency but the flow of the chaos is very organized for those who work in the ER. A member of a highly technically trained staff makes an assessment within minutes of a patient's arrival. This process is called triage.
Triage is the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care. Triage is the necessary first step in discerning a patient's needs. It's looking at the big picture not just the individual. Not all crises are created equal. The triage process ensures those who are at risk for dying are seen and treated first. Often urgency can be in the eye of the beholder.
I think it might be a good thing to use the triage sorting technique when working with just about any crisis situation. Different situations call for different responses whether we are working with the poor, our own families or friends. It's pretty easy to get sucked into someone else's crisis and want to provide relief.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is not adequately triaging a situation and attempting to apply relief in situations where rehabilitation or relationship development is the appropriate intervention. It's very important for others to feel the pain of irresponsible behavior. The point is not to punish people for mistakes but ensure the appropriate lessons are learned so that mistakes are not repeated. Take some time to consider how you handle crisis. Consider the big picture. Remember not all crises are created equal. Have you been quick to provide relief when relationship development is what is truly needed?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. -Matthew 5:6