A little over a month ago I wrote a post called “Victims Cannot Heal.” I received a number of comments about it and didn’t discover until quite a long ways into fielding those comments that they were not actually about the post itself, but about the title. When I realized this, and the numbers of comments increased past my ability to keep track of who said what, and what I’d said to whom, I decided to stop writing in response to the comments and write another post to see if I could clear things up.
So, here I am. The last line of the post says, “healing will never come as long as they see themselves as victims.” I assume this is what the hoopla was mostly about.
We have two kinds of people here: people who are victims and people who stay victims. People who are victims are people who have been beat up by someone else, or even by life itself. A man who is harangued by his boss at work is a victim. A family whose house was destroyed by a hurricane is a victim family. These people are all victims. One abused by his boss, the other left homeless by nature.
A person who stays a victim is someone who never recovers from the abuse. The man never quits his job, he never leaves, he may even murder his boss, but he is always complaining about his boss and is always traumatized by him. Even if he were to leave the job, he would never get over being yelled at, he would carry that with him wherever he goes and may even assume his new boss is the same kind of guy and beat him to the punch by complaining before anything actually happens. The key here is that even though the event is over, the man relives it over and over again, never either rising above the situation, never moving on past it, or never giving the situation/man over to God to deal with. He is trapped by his boss, he is staying a victim.
The family who lost their home in the hurricane might stay a victim family by never rebuilding their lives. They may go on the government dole, complain about substandard houses, how terrible the rescue people were, or how the police should have been better about dealing with the looters. The kids grow up and never get real jobs, they are always homeless, and always victims of the system or the man, or something else. There is a sense that they are suffering from the hurricane years, even decades later. They are staying victims.
My point, in that statement then, is that as long as a person never gets past his past, he will always be a victim and will never be healed or able to move on in life. There will never be joy, or life, or real down in the bone happiness. He will always be blaming, always making excuses, always enlisting others to join in the “protest,” and the people he enjoins will also be victims (of their own grievances).
Help for Victims
In my initial post, both of my victims were also abusers. They were victims of one another. They both sinned in victimizing the other and therefore they were both sinned against in becoming victims. My point there was that before either of these folks could recover from their victimhood, they needed to confess their sin of victimizing the other. They needed to own their part in the mess before they could be restored to fellowship with God.
Once they were restored to fellowship with God, they could be healed from being victims. Victims no more. This is because this kind of healing comes only from God. The logic seems clear to me: if you need to be near God to let him heal you, you need to get near to God. And if your sins are separating you from God (Isa. 59:2), you need to deal with those sins before he will let you come near to him.
The opposite holds true as well: as long as a person will not acknowledge her sin, she cannot be healed of her victimization. She will only become more and more angry, bitter, guilty, and shameful. This is just the way God made the world.
Answers to questions from the first post:
Can a person be a victim without having sinned? Yes. A woman who is raped while lying in her bed, at home, by a man who breaks in, has probably not sinned. She is a victim and does not have any sin that needs to be confessed prior to being healed by God coming near to her.
This is not the woman in the first post. That woman was waiting on her door step, wearing alluring clothing, being a special kind of fragrant, and talking in seductive tones to the young man who was passing down the street.
Is it possible for a party to abuse another and the abuse not run both ways? Yes. Child abuse with young children would be another easy example of this. Small children are just trying to get along.
This gets more difficult as the child gets older, however. I’m not at all saying that a child causes anyone to sin against him. I don’t think anyone causes anyone to sin against them (Mt. 18:6; Mk. 9:42; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; etc need some discussion), but a 13 year old boy can do things that are sinful that result in someone older than him sinning against him. For example, a 13 year old by, might scream at his mother, who then hits him with a coat hanger that rips a hunk of skin off his arm. She gets hauled off by the courts for hitting him, he is a victim, but he also needs to confess his sin. He didn’t cause her sin, but he did sin (and he may have been provoked, see the references above).
There was some talk about the meaning of words. Someone said that a victim was someone who was abused but was totally innocent of any wrong doing. I don’t see that part about being totally innocent in any dictionary, anywhere. A victim is simply someone who “a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.” They may have done something to “invite” abuse, or they may be totally innocent, just standing there minding their own business.
There was some talk about my using Biblical words instead of the “normal” words people use for things. For example, I said that any time anyone has sex with someone outside of marriage, they are abusing the one they have sex with. I said this because I am assuming that any time someone does something that harms the other person, they are abusing them. One of the many on-line dictionaries defines abuse as, “(Verb) 1. use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse. 2. Treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly. (Noun) 1. The improper use of something. 2. Cruel and violent treatment of a person or animal.”
Any time someone has sex with someone they shouldn’t be having sex with, they are abusing the other person (even if both are doing it at the same time). It is the improper use of sex. It will always have a bad effect. Someone said something like, what’s wrong with a little friendly hanky-panky between friends? What’s wrong with it is that God says it is sin. It always has bad results, it destroys souls, it gives shame, it causes guilt, and of course, it can create unloved life.
One more thing and I’ll go away, not very far away, but a little bit away. One thing I was trying to bring out in my answers is that the difference between a child and an adult is pretty arbitrary. Is a 16 year old boy a child or an adult? I know two men who married at 16. Were they boys one day, and men the next? Is it abuse when the girl is 17 and wants to have sex with her boyfriend because he is dreamy and wonderful, but just two consenting adults when she is 18 (just two people having a little harmless hanky-panky)? One day, she is a girl, being molested, the next she is woman being liberated?
According to the civil law, that’s the way it is. But God’s standards are completely different. It is abuse when it is sex outside of marriage. Sex outside of marriage always has negative consequences. That’s the way God made the world.