At the time I began my relationship with God, I was in a bad place. I was a victim of my past, of depression and anxiety, and of sin. Therefore the lesson I needed to learn, but didn’t want to, was how to choose to be a victor over my circumstances instead of a victim. This is easier said than done. See, I had gone through terrible experiences. I had been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. I had been neglected and bullied. God did not rejoice over my pain, but by choosing to let it fester I wasn’t allowing God to work all things for the good of those who love Him, (Romans 8:28). I had to choose to shed the victimhood mentality to become a victor in Christ.
This message isn’t easy to share because we live in a culture that idolizes victimhood. Why else would there be over 6,000 episodes of Judge Judy? People suing and counter suing each other; the biggest victim wins. A few years ago, there was a movement called #metoo where victims of sexual abuse spoke up. It was said to raise awareness, which it did, but it also made people reminisce how they were once hurt. Whether it’s over race, religion, gender identity, women’s rights, everyone is crying out, “You’re oppressing me. I’m your victim and you need to stop.” When one views themselves as a victim, it gives them room to distrust and hate– even in the church. Paul gives this warning from 1 Corinthians 1:10, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Satan rejoices over the division caused by victimhood mentality.
This isn’t a new concept. About 6,000 years ago in the Garden of Eden, God confronted Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit as recorded in Genesis 3. Adam accused Eve of doing him wrong by giving him the fruit, and Eve played victim claiming she was deceived by the serpent. By playing the victim, neither took responsibility, and God wasn’t happy. But Scripture doesn’t just highlight stories of those who choose to be victims. King David demonstrates shedding the victim mentality in 1 Samuel 24. David started out as a shepherd, was anointed by Samuel to be the future king, and rose in might through deeds like overcoming Goliath. He was loyal to Saul, even playing comforting music for him. Saul turned on him because of David’s popularity, and tried to kill him. David could’ve given into his victimhood and taken it upon himself to take Saul out when he had the chance, but instead He did the opposite. When Saul enters a cave that David is hiding in, David only cuts the corner of his robe instead of killing him as his men suggested. He confronts Saul later explaining what happened. Saul is remorseful, and the two part ways in peace. David had faith God would protect him as he chose victory in Christ.
God wills for us to rise above this victimhood mentality like David did. In 1 John 5:4-5 it says, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” For me, at the time I learned this lesson, it brought freedom and healing. This is by no means easy. Jesus in fact warns us of this. In John 16:33 He says, “I have said these things to you that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Jesus has already given us peace so that when hard times come, we can follow in His footsteps and be victors over our circumstances.
“Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
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