On a recent Oprah Winfrey Show the topic was how to survive being assaulted. All of the experts on the show agreed on one thing: never allow yourself be moved to a second crime scene. Never go quietly. Never get into a car with someone you don’t know. Criminals will usually attempt to move their victims to a second location away from people and if successful the results are almost always fatal. They recommend screaming, kicking, biting, and creating as much of a scene as possible. One key to survival is to never go quietly. Never cooperate in your own victimization.
Now, crime is just one way in which people are victimized. People can be victimized emotionally, socially, economically, or in relationships with others when someone takes advantage of them or treats them unfairly. In fact, people sometimes seem to become programmed in life as victims. They move from one situation or relationship to another being victimized in some way. People who find themselves being chronic victims of life should ask the question, “Am I cooperating in my own victimization?”
Why would anyone do that? What is the payoff? Well, for one thing victims usually receive a lot of sympathy, at least at first. Sympathy feels good. For some, that can become an incentive for cooperating in their own victimization.
Another payoff for cooperating in one’s own victimization is the sense of not being responsible. When people feel powerless it becomes easy to blame others. In fact, some people develop quite a blame list. They blame the government, taxes, “the system”, the boss, the schools, friends, relatives, the church, God… the list goes on and on.
There’s just one thing wrong with most people’s blame list—they’re not on it. The reality for a lot of folks is that they cooperate in their own victimization. It’s easy to blame others for our lack of progress. Living life as a victim eliminates the struggle that is always necessary for growth and advancement. The problem with that is that it also eliminates the growth and advancement. Living life as a victim violates one of the fundamental principles of life—personal responsibility.
One of the hallmarks of maturity is taking personal responsibility for the outcomes in our life. You can’t change the government, taxes, the boss, or any of the other factors in life usually on the blame list. But you can change the way you respond to all of them. Here is where the Christian has a distinct advantage. We have a resource, a power not available to those outside of Christ. We have the Holy Spirit of God living within us. We no longer have to be victims of life.
The good news of the gospel is that through Christ we are more than conquerors! (Romans 8:37). With Paul we can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13) If you know the Lord and are still living life as a victim you need to hear anew the words of Jesus, “I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) We no longer have to live as victims. Through Christ, we are victors!