"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob. And He who formed you, O Israel, 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.' " Isaiah 43:1......"We must allow what Jesus has done for us to be greater than anything that has been done to us."
I think even a casual observer of our modern society knows that we have developed a very real culture of "victimhood." Everybody is a victim of something, and that "something" is what has come to define us. Please note, I am not lessening the damage that can be done by abuse, neglect, and the vast sum of demeaning actions that can be carried out against us. They are real. The pain and wounds they leave are real. We all live in a fallen, sin stained world, and all of us are to some degree, victims of that world. The message of Jesus Christ is, we don't have to continue to live as that world's victims. We were created by Him for victory, and nothing, I repeat, nothing that has happened has the power to keep us from that victory that is ours in Christ.
We live in a culture, even within the church, that tells us we are "less" while others are "more." Satan, the enemy of our souls takes great joy in working through circumstances, life happenings, and the words and actions of people to burn the message upon our minds that we are less, while others are more. The church, being made up of very fallible humans, can, consciously or not, reinforce this. But as Paul said, "You did not learn Christ in this way." It is within the Body of Christ that we ought to feel most secure, most affirmed, yet this is too often not so. When Jesus Christ called forth Lazarus from the tomb, He instructed those who were standing by to "remove from him his graveclothes." This is a ministry that we in the church must be actively engaged in, the removing of one another's "graveclothes." The graveclothes of shame, false guilt, and all the unhealed wounds and abuses we may still carry. This will call for a "realness" and transparency that too few of us are willing to walk in or allow in others. Victory is near impossible in such a place, and victimhood becomes commonplace.
Jesus said He makes all things new. He still says that. Has it become our reality? Are we defined by what has happened to us, or by what He has done for us? And for you and me, the question is, do we know what He has done for us? Do we live in that reality? Or, do we live as victims of the past, of the abuse, the mistreatment, the failure? If we have truly received what the Father says in Isaiah 43:1, than victory is the only path for us. You cannot live in that truth and be a victim. You may have been victimized, but you do not have to live in victimhood. No one does. So why do we? Why would you?
May we, in this new year, come to live in the fullness of what He has done for us, not in what has been done to us. May the graveclothes of the past be removed from us all. May His church truly carry out such a ministry to the full. May we live in the truth of what He says of us, and not the lies of the enemy. No longer victims, but victors in Christ.