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Our Character Context

CHAPTER 6 PART II

Now we will take a look at the context that almost all of humanity uses to view life. The context that seems to the author the most widely used, is victim. All of us have thoughts about being a victim. Before we look at what a victim is, let us see what the Bible says a victim is not. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Eph. 6:10-18. This is God's instruction to have power and be strong in the Holy Spirit. This is not the experience of being a victim.

Let us look at the popular concept of being a victim. The word "victim" comes from the Latin "victima," which means an animal to be sacrificed in a religious ceremony. Today, we use the word to mean someone who has been hurt, not by his own doing, or swindled or "duped" in some way. We have created expressions like: "a victim of crime," "the accident victim" and "a victim of circumstance." The original meaning, though, gives us the essential characteristic of the victim. The modern victim, like the ancient sacrificial animal, is not in control. A victim is not in control or he wouldn't be a victim.

We have at least two choices in the world: one strong, it has power, and it "happens to life." The other choice is weak, victimized, and lets life "happen to it." We have all had both experiences in our lives. God has given man power within to yield himself to universal evil (the powers of Satan), or universal good (the powers of God). He can become a victimized toiler in Satan's ways, or powerful and strong in God's ways. The apostle Paul stresses the importance and consequences of this choice between victim and strength. "Do you not know, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." Rom. 6:16. No third alternative is allowed for. Either we yield ourselves to God and receive power and freedom, or we yield to Satan and receive victimization and finally, death.

Every day we have the choice of being a victim or in control. There is no need to be a victim, ever. Even when Christ was hanging on the cross, being murdered by the Romans, He was not a victim. He said things like, "My time is at hand," and "For this came I into the world." He was there by His own choice, He wasn't a victim. He was never out of control. The idea of control versus victim is all around us.

Many resist this concept because being a victim allows them to place the blame for their life's circumstances on others. If they could only stop telling stories about their lives, they would see that they have created their own circumstances. The idea of creating right and wrong and victim is not limited to one people. There are about five billion people in the world, divided into several hundred countries. Many of these nations are always at war, either verbally or physically. One nation created itself to be the righteous one, and another the victim of aggression. Each nation, through propaganda, will try to convince its people that its cause is right and just. During World War II, we saw very few Americans who were for the Japanese, or Japanese who were for Americans; the same for Germany. Each country had created itself to be right and a victim of the other's aggression. In the case of Germany, they created themselves as being victims of certain of their own people, the Jews.

In religion many are self-imposed victims. They are in religions that they consider are the "true religion." They don't like being there but since it is the "true religion," they stay and complain the whole time. If they ever decide to go to another religion, the same process starts all over again. The victim cannot just be free. A free man would simply go about making things as he wants them rather than complain about those things he has previously chosen.

Another area where victim often crops up is in marriage. The pattern is something like this: the husband and wife have differences, there are trials and problems. They each strengthen their own position, creating the other to be wrong and themselves to be the victim of the other's errors. They will then create each other to be wrong and at fault for the problem, then they create each other to be evil. This will, more often than not, lead to their creating a divorce.

In prisons it is common to find criminals who claim that they are not guilty of their specific crime. They may claim that they were victims of society. They spend their prison time creating revenge and hostility. In doing so, they are making themselves victims of revenge and hostility, its slaves. Often a young child who is caught stealing in school will consider himself the victim of the person who "snitched" or told on him. He sees the crime as being told on, not as stealing. Racism and racial prejudice are expressions of this same concept. The minority create themselves to be victims of the majority, and the other way around. In the end, they each create the other to be evil and at fault for their problems.

The choice is always with us. We may create a victim, or create control. Nothing happens to us in that which we do not have a choice. Someone might ask, "How about the martyrs or slaves, they didn't have any choice?" In the case of the martyrs, history shows how they willingly and joyfully accepted the role. Martyrdom is the choice of those who experience it. When all is said and done, every knee will bow. Does that not suggest that all will see that their lives were chosen?

Very often, our fears are the beginnings of our victimization. As children, we fear spooks and burglars in the night. If we allow ourselves to become victims of our fears, we may get exactly what we are afraid of. A good example of this is the husband who must stay late at the office a couple of nights a week. His wife fears that he is really having an affair with his secretary. She accuses him of doing this and keeps up her suspicion, even though it may be totally ungrounded. Sooner or later, her husband begins to listen to her fears, and begins to create the situation in his mind. After a while, there really is an affair and the wife knows that she is the victim of an unfaithful husband; not knowing or admitting that she played a major role in the creation of the situation.

Many people fear being without money. They create a life that, without their conscious decisions, leads them to being broke and in debt. Many old people fear being mugged on the street, so they walk around looking for all the world like a victim of a mugging. They actually create the attack that may come. Many muggers, rapists and robbers have been interviewed and asked about their choice of victims. They often tell you that they only pick on those who look like victims. They will attack a person whose fear of them is obvious in their manner of walking and deportment.

These concepts are difficult for men to accept. The reason is: we don't want to take responsibility for our entire life, because that leaves us without excuse for our failings. It means that we can no longer blame others, or consider ourselves victims of others. To live the life of a victim is to always blame others. We may blame our parents, or perhaps the ever-present "they." We may choose to live a good life of power, or a bad life of victim. Regardless of which we choose, we must know that we have made the choice and created that life.

God's plan is for us to know Him and live in Him as a powerful and perfected person. "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord which exercises loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the Lord." Jer. 9:23.

Every man needs God's wisdom in order to see and observe how the universe works. Speaking of the wisdom of God, Paul says: How is it we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.... Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit.... For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor. 2:6,7,9,10,16. With the mind of Christ, we are given a clear insight into what we create. We never need to be a victim again. The choice, as we pointed out earlier, is most simple: be a victim, or be in power with the mind of Christ. So, let us not make a "space" for victim by doing the evil that creates victim. Remember, you can only be hit with a hammer if you are standing where hammers hit.

There is a story in Scripture that illustrates well the concept of victim. It is found in 1 Kings 13:7. It happened that a prophet was sent to King Jeroboam to prophesy against him. After all had been said and done, the king invited the prophet home for some refreshments. The prophet answered, "If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so was it charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest." Now, it was very clear to this prophet what the truth was for him. He had no doubt what his duty was and where his integrity lay. As the story goes there was an old prophet who thought it would be nice to have this fellow over to his house so he could have his prestige enhanced in the neighborhood. He, too, invited this prophet over and again the prophet once again said, "I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest." There was no problem there; he understood well his instructions. The old prophet said to him, "Well, I'm a prophet too and an angel said you were supposed to come and eat with me." It may be the prophet to Jeroboam was getting a little hungry and he decided to believe the old man. The story ends where the Lord spoke through the old prophet judging the prophet of God for not following instructions. In God's instructions was his only safety. When the prophet left, he was met in the way and killed by a lion. He was the victim of a lion attack that never would have happened if he had been true to his convictions.

Israel was victim of its enemies only in times of her rebellion. The truth remains that unless our intentions are set firm as steel, we will fall into being the victim of our mortality. So, let it be that our face is set firm as steel. We shall then be not the victim of any man or circumstance.

How To Be A Victim - Bible Study

1. God gives us the fruit of our thoughts. If the way we think makes us a victim, we are.

Jer. 6:19: "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it."

2. The Bible gives us the way of blessings.

Deut. 28:1-10: "And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee."

3. There is also a way of cursings.

Deut. 28:15-25: "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth."

Self-Knowledge Resumé

  1. Do I ever believe rumors about someone without first checking with them to see if they are true?
  2. If I condemn others as dishonest, have I considered it is because I am?
  3. The Lord says of Himself, "With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward." Ps. 18:2. Have I considered that others show themselves to me as I am?
  4. Is life basically withholding from me? Do I see myself always fighting to get something?
  5. Am I lazy? Does life seem like something I do not want to put much energy into?
  6. Do I expect others to help me get by? When they don't, am I offended?
  7. How have I made the world look to me? Do I recognize my context?
  8. Do I try as hard as I can to be fully dedicated to Christ, but I still feel myself holding back and even doubting?
  9. Is there anything I do not like about my children or spouse?
  10. Do I recognize that they are exactly who I am?
  11. Do I ever have suspicious feelings about other church members or ministers?
  12. Am I ever afraid to witness to someone or have a minister visit a friend because they may communicate wrong?

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