This past week, Betsy and I researched the victimhood mentality that has grown to full bloom in our culture at large. We see it in our interactions throughout the day, when insignificant slights (purposeful or accidental) are taken as grandiose insults to our personal character or group in which we identify. In these slights, we often seek out the public to validate our “victimization.” We turn to social media or the immediate witnesses to our “crime” to engage in our piling on of sympathy and outrage. And we feel good about it, feeling as though our victimization has given us a special kind of righteousness. A righteousness that can stomp our oppressors into the dirt and lift us up as the victor. All while making a public spectacle. This mentality has even invaded the grounds of the local church body. We often consider our various “victim” status as a source of pride and/or righteousness, destroying the very relationships we are to nourish and seek to serve.
No matter if our victimhood is developed by a genuine victimization or just one of our own imagining, we can have hope in Christ. Praise the Lord.
This week we remembered that Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice, laying His life down for the redemption of His people. In a sense, He was the only true “victim” that has ever walked the earth – because He was completely innocent, yet endured the just punishment for His people’s sins. However, he willingly laid his life down, out of love. Even more so, He was raised three days later, securing our victory over death and sin.
So how does this relate to the victimhood mentality of our day and age?
- We don’t need to fashion for ourselves “fig leaves” to cover our shame. Christ is our covering
In our search for righteousness, we attempt to procure our own in the form of victim righteousness. We stomp over others, at any and every mistake/slight that is in our direction, to lift ourselves up. But with Christ’s righteousness applied to our own guilt and shame – our offenses that were toward a holy, perfect, and good God – we can rest from our scrambling. We can lift others up to see the righteousness we have been given in Christ. A righteousness that we could never earn by our works or by our claim to victimization.
2. We have hope in the victory of Christ
When we are truly victimized; whether by circumstances, evilness in the world, or our own sinful nature, we have an everlasting hope in Christ. We can rest knowing that our own wrongs won’t be punished on us for eternity, because if we are in Christ, our punishment has been absorbed by Him on the cross. We also know that whatever hurt we experience in this life, no matter how grand or painful, we will be glorified – wholly renewed in our mind and bodies. When we are resurrected to life with Him, we will have no tears, no sin, no hurts.
3. We get to answer evil with love and justice
Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we are gifted with the Holy Spirit. He conforms us to Christ’s image. A character that doesn’t revile back, but sacrifices his life for his friends. When evil is done to us, we don’t have to worry if the government, the public, or ourselves can handle dealing just punishment. We know that God is sovereign and just. He is trustworthy and punishes all wickedness – either in the unrepentant sinner in eternity or for the repentant, on His Son. Because of this, we get to focus on showing His great love – to which we have been recipients.
So family, I entreat you to trust Him who judges rightly, and also who forgives our iniquities against Him. Run to Christ. Seek refuge in His work and His righteousness. Trust his justice and cover a multitude of sins in love, as He has done for you.
Blessings in Christ,