We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Cor. 4:8-10 (NKJV)
I have been preaching in our church on the concept of victims versus victors. All of us have been victims at some time in life. A victim is someone who has been harmed or diminished in some way. How we respond when we are harmed or diminished determines if we remain a victim or rise to be a victor. A victor is someone who has been harmed but rises above it to choose a victor’s perspective. Very often people who are victims, whether of minor or major harm, will linger and meditate on their victimhood to the point of it becoming their identity. But a victor seeks heart transformation and overcomes the temptation to identify as a victim.
In the corporate offices of America we have procedures and policies for those who feel aggrieved or victimized by someone or something. In such cases the harm is often called a grievance. The world’s way of dealing with this is for the victim to file a grievance with the Human Resource Department which will investigate and determine if there must be restitution for the victim. In cases of criminal activity victims may go through legal proceedings to gain restitution or some form of justice. But the most critical aspect of being a victim is how we respond in our mind and heart. Will we embrace victimhood as our identity? Will we seek empathy from other victims and pursue vengeance for the wrong?
The early church offers us the Kingdom way of responding when bad things happen. When harmed, persecuted, perplexed, or hard-pressed they took their grievance to their Heavenly Father. They did not look to earthly government but to heavenly government. They are our example. They filed their perspective of being a victim with the Divine Resource Department. They took their grievance to God, confident He would settle it…first and foremost in their mind and heart.
There are many great examples of Godly men and women choosing to be a victor amidst victim circumstances.
- Joseph-thrown into a pit, sold by his brothers, falsely accused of sexual assault, imprisoned wrongfully, completely separated from his family into a foreign culture. Yet…he said to his brothers upon being reunited…'it was not you who sent me here, but God to preserve a remnant.'
- Daniel-a man of noble birth taken captive to Babylon, trained to be a servant to the king, interpreted dreams for the kings, elevated to great honor in the palace, maligned for not worshiping false gods, elevated again to great honor in the court of Darius, framed by jealous satraps, thrown to the lions by Darius, elevated again to great honor, and stayed in the courts of Cyrus while the remnant of the Tribe of Judah returned to Jerusalem to restore the temple and the walls.
- Jesus-born of a virgin, son of God and son of man, no room for him in the inn, 40 days fasting in the desert, tempted by Satan with the world’s kingdoms, offered himself as Messiah to Israel and was rejected, falsely accused by his countrymen, convicted, flogged, denied by Peter three times, crucified by the gentiles, separated from his Father who turned away at the moment of his greatest burden on the cross when he became sin.
- Paul- received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one, Three times beaten with rods, once pelted with stones, three times shipwrecked, spent a night and a day in the open sea, was constantly on the move, in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers, labored and toiled and often gone without sleep, was hungry and thirsty and without food, was at times cold and naked.
- All of the original apostles, except Judas and John, were killed for their faith, yet never wavered in that faith.
Click here to read Harvey's previous message, From Victim to Victor!
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