I want this blog to be a safe place for victims of abuse. A place where they will be believed. A place to tell their stories. To learn about the nature and tactics of evil so they can better understand what has been happening to them and get free.
But I also want you all to be free. Not just physically free of your abuser but emotionally and I suppose most importantly, spiritually free. And there is a trap that keeps us from freedom if we get sucked into it. Many abuse victims do. It is the trap of perpetual victimhood. Of embracing being a victim as one’s identity. It can sneak up on you and won’t even realize it.
One of my friends survived horrid abuse, was ex-communicated from her church for getting free of her abuser, and still suffers many physical ills as a result of the abuse. And yet, she is free to enjoy who she is in reality – in Christ. Here are some things she wrote to me recently about the trap of spinning our wheels and permitting an oppressor to continue to keep us in bondage because we adopt the name “victim” for ourselves rather than finding our real personhood in Christ. Here is real wisdom. Listen and remember: these words are coming from people who want to see you healed and free and who want to warn you about this danger. Don’t conclude that we are in any way denying the wickedness of what has happened to you.
My friend said:
Some victims have a need to stay stuck and to be babied as victims instead of growing up in Christ. They are carnal and desire to embrace what has happened to them and live by their “feelings and emotions”, rather than handling it how God would have them handle it.
If you ever offend this perpetual victim, you automatically become an abuser. They lack truth and don’t know who the real enemy is behind abuse and then they make their identity about what happened to them instead of what God says about them. I was like that, but God changed that. Thank goodness!
Victims who are held down by Satan cannot stand for the Word to be used adequately to bring them to forgiveness and out of bitterness. It’s a work of Satan playing on suffering and on the poor me syndrome. I understand needing time for the light to come on and work through things, but it’s actually become an excuse for such people to be bitter and to sin – to even abuse others themselves.
They want a message that makes them feel good about remaining stuck. They need victim strokes. I get it, but pretty soon such people get weird about it and everyone is an abuser and everything is abuse. The focus is no longer what God can do to heal us and use it for good, it’s about everybody having to pay them back for what they suffered. That’s because their identity is in what happened to them, not in Christ.
Remember how your abuser made you feel? How you had to be constantly tip-toeing around and walking on egg shells lest you get blasted or accused, blamed or worse? Now, we must take great care that WE do not start doing that ourselves to others. And that is exactly what will happen if we choose perpetual victimhood.
And what do you suppose is going to happen if a perpetual victim launches out into counseling others? They aren’t free themselves. They have not embraced an identity in Christ. So all they are going to do is bring those they counsel into the same bondage they are in. This is why we discourage people who have been abuse victims from launching out too quickly into their own ministry of helping other victims. I understand the desire to do so, but we must be quite sure that we are really healed and free ourselves before we can lead others into freedom.
Like produces like. You don’t want to replicate your victimhood in someone else. Christ is Victor. He has defeated the devil. He wants His people to be free, and that freedom is only going to come when we see clearly who we really are in Him.
Rom 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39) 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.