In the last post, I wrote about our current tendency to play the victim. The “victim card” trumps everything else in our day; playing the victim is a power-play. Putting ourselves in the low place is a way of gaining an advantage over others. But as Christians, we have no right to (illegitimately) play the victim; we serve a God who, in Christ, took the low place, so that He could lift us all the way up to heaven.
Today, I want to briefly apply the gospel to this victim tendency. As a church, we believe the gospel applies to all of life. The gospel is the story that tells us who we are because of what Christ did. Let’s discover what the gospel story says about victimhood.
Creation & Victim Culture
When God made the world (Genesis 1 & 2), there were no victims. In a sinless world, everyone and everything was in its right place. God lovingly made humans in His image; we loved and worshiped Him; we loved, respected one another. There were no victims because there was no violence, oppression, alienation or division.
God did not make us to be victims. When we are genuinely victimized, we can say—with the Bible on our side—“this is not the way the world is supposed to be.” The sin of victimization is against the created order and grieves the heart of the Creator.
The Fall & the First Victim(s)
In the story of the Fall (Genesis 3), we read of history’s first victim. It wasn’t Adam and Eve—theyfreely chose to eat of the forbidden fruit. It certainly wasn't the Serpent (though he'd like try to spin it that way).
God was the first victim in recorded history.
He gave the world to His image bearers, and sought loving, intimate relationship with them. We betrayed Him. Rebelled. Ruined His world and broke His heart in the process.
All the victimization that followed in human history is attributable to that first victimizing act in the Garden. From Abel on down through the ages, all victims can trace their victimization back to the Fall. We are all victims of Adam’s sin:
[S]in came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
Jesus Redeems Victims
Maybe you've been victimized. Whether you have been physically, emotionally, relationally or spiritually oppressed by someone else, there is hope for victims. The gospel has good news for all of us, victims and victimizers alike. Christ became a victim to redeem victims like you and me.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. (Galatians 3:13)
This means what others have done to you does not define you. If you've placed your faith in Christ, He has made you new (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are no longer a victim; you are a conqueror.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
Wrongs Will Be Righted & Victims Will Be Healed
Our suffering in this life is real. You may have been oppressed and victimized by others in the past. Perhaps you're being victimized right now. Maybe you've suffered systemic racism, unjust hiring practices, been hurt by preferential treatment, been wronged by others’ greed or lust. The gospel of Jesus says, not only does this victimization not define you, but these injustices will one day be corrected. Wrongs will one day be righted. Victims will one day be healed.
One day, justice will “roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). When Christ returns to restore and renew all things:
[He] will be [our] shepherd, and he will guide [us] to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes. (Revelation 7:17)
When Christ comes again, there will be no more victims. There will only be redeemed and renewed people who will live in His love forever.