Dealing with Victimization

by Robert D. McLaughlin, Christian Counselor

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Is there any doubt that we live in a culture filled with "victims?" The general public is constantly bombarded by people who state that they are victims of some situation or circumstance. It often seems in these cases that these unfortunate people had no choice of what happened to them, and now are damaged or scarred for life.

Open a phone book of any city of significant size and there will be numerous support groups listed. Turn on the television to daytime talk shows, and many of them will have guests who are victims of something. Our society has developed a voyeuristic need to watch these, and the shows never seem to run out of people wanting to be on them.

There are, of course, people who claim to be "victims" but for whom the term "victim" is really strained. These are people who bring consequences upon themselves by their own reckless behavior. We all understand what is meant by "self-victimization," but in our culture today we often fail to differentiate those who have no control over their circumstance from those who purposely choose a risky course that leads to inevitable problems. God calls these people "fools" and "sinners" (Proverbs 14:15-16, 15:5-6, 17:10, 22:3-5, Luke 12:16-21, Romans 6:23, Galatians 6:7-8).

Are there any legitimate claims of victimhood? Certainly. There are instances where a person is powerless to handle a situation. Cases of rape, incest, abuse while a child, all would qualify as branding the person a victim. The Bible has numerous individuals who qualify as victims. Joseph was sold off by his brothers into slavery, sexually harassed by a government official's wife, and imprisoned on false charges. Moses finds out that he was adopted when he was an adult, and falls from grace with the Egyptians. The evangelist Timothy was "fatherless," and was raised by his mother and grandmother. How are we to react to adversity in life? How is a victim supposed to deal with the situation, and no longer be a victim? At what time does a person cease to be a victim? Does the Bible have anything to say about this?

Unfortunately, it is much easier to become a victim than to deal with the situation. Although the specific details of each situation varies from person to person, the Bible does give guidance on how to deal with things life hits us with. Loving support and understanding from others, good counsel and medical attention when we need them, restitution for losses we have suffered, changing our lifestyle to avoid making ourselves easy prey for others, all of these can help when we have become victims.

But, ultimately, the only true way to cease being a victim is through faith in God (Hebrews 12:1-13, Romans 8:). Jesus said, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). 1 John states, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith" (5:4).

First printed in The American Night Watch Newsletter, Volume IV, Part 11, November 1996.

Copyright 1999 Robert D. McLaughlin. All Rights Reserved.

The American Night Watch is a trademark of the Christian ministry of Sterling M. Durgy.

Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968,1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Permission is granted to reprint this article as long as the copyright is included, this statement is included, and the article is not sold to the recipients.

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This page was last updated October 22, 1999.