Victim Identity for Christians?

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Victim Identity for Christians?

One human condition we can all identify with is suffering, which at times, can be caused by offense against an innocent person. Such situations are commonly referred to as victimization. Sometimes victimization can render a changed way of thinking (that is, a new identity) within the victim. When this happens, the victim’s thoughts, emotions, choices and actions begin to reflect this new identity, usually detrimentally. This brings to question then: are God’s people permitted to abide in a life dominated by a victim identity?

There are many examples of God’s people who have suffered unjustly.

  • Joseph: cruelly betrayed by his brothers.
  • Job: falsely judged by his friends.
  • David: relentlessly pursued by king Saul.

Each discovered that he could not lean on his own understanding, and ultimately trusted in God’s truth for the proper perspective of his situation.

In Psalm 42, David initially expressed his pain and despair when he says, “My tears have been my food day and night…”, but he also says later in that same Psalm, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God”. What was the difference? David brought to remembrance several things: God’s faithfulness, the salvation he had been granted, and his true identity as a child of God.

Jesus, the ultimate example of unjust suffering, tells us, “In the world you have tribulation…”, but He goes on to say, “but take courage; I have overcome the world”. Clearly, those who are in Christ should not let their hearts and minds be controlled by their troubled circumstance. Instead a protective shield is provided: through prayer the “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Php 4.7). You can live in the eternal hope that your well-being is not determined by people or circumstances. Ultimately, your response in troubling situations should match your identity: that of a beloved child of the King.

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