Being a perpetual victim can also become a lifestyle as the wounded waits around looking for someone, or some group, to make them feel better.
When no one is able to meet them where they are or fix their problem, they begin to see the world as their enemy, and the battle continues on, and on, and on.
Anger turns inward. Rage ensues. The heart of that soul is crushed and ineffective in their own life and story.
Once anger has been turned inward for long enough, it will turn outward. There is only so much rage one person can carry.
Perhaps not all victims will become serial killers. Some will simply become nagging, negative souls that lose friends as fast as they find them. Others will become addicted to whatever eases their pain. Others still will be ineffective parents that raise angry and incompetent children who blame the world for their problems. Or maybe they will become the angry and hostile voices that scream and attack strangers on a blog because it is the only way they can express their rage. No concern for feelings. No awareness of value.
Some will abuse their children. Others will become self-centered and narcissistic. Some will surround themselves with the drama that their victim-hood created. These are the faces of the majority. The majority point fingers and create a culture of anger. The majority blame, and blame and blame. Their indiscretion, after all, is not that big of a deal.
The blame game
On the fringe are the individuals that buy weapons and try to kill as many as they can. Those that simply use a sharp tongue or abuse their children with words are the majority and carry the most impact on society. The few become the voice of the next big social issue and give us reason to blame someone for what our culture has become.
We read about them on the news, and we rise up in solidarity against the evil that they forced upon our innocents. We battle cry to feel empowered. Banish guns! Banish knives! Save the children! Stop bullying! We rally around the atrocity of their behavior and find another excuse to battle about who is right and who is wrong.
We ring-around-the-rosie over and over and over because if THEY are the problem, we do not have to look inside. Blame is an easy place to hide.
And hide we do. We hide behind our entertainment. We avoid responsibility. We play instead of work. We don’t admit when we are wrong. We post silly memes that prove that our side wins. We holler at the others, all the while avoiding the truth that our hearts need our attention.
Nobody likes pain it seems, and when we deal with ME, we find our pain hiding right there between the blaming of the others and the denial that keeps us safe. It was hidden in plain sight, waiting patiently for the day when we would have the courage to deal with ME. ME, after all, is the one and only piece of this big mess that I have any power to control. If I deal with my pain, my sin, my story, I will hurt. We want to avoid that and so we do.
Guns and bombs and threats of all kinds have been a problem mankind has had to deal with since Adam and Eve screwed it all up. The problem of evil will not be solved on this side of heaven.
While faith (or the lack thereof) plays a significant role in the problem of culture, even that will not solve evil. Not today anyway. Easter solved that, but it didn’t fix the problem of evil here in our every day. Faith matters. Faith helps us get it right with God, and gives us access to forgiveness. It enables us to look beyond our feelings to the basic tenets that God shared about loving and forgiving and being kind. It gives us a moral compass that is not encapsulated in our feelings.
But even our faith will not stop the evil that is around us. God is not, nor has He ever been, a magic wand.
On the other hand, faith can be the foundation upon which we build our lives and stories. It can give us the courage to deal with ME. Knowing I am loved in the no matter what, by someone, can give me courage. A journal, a quiet moment, and a prayer for courage can be the starting place for healing.
Every last one of us has a closet. In that closet are all the secrets we have kept from our world. It is filled with the sins that are known only to God. It contains the struggles I try to hide, my failures and shortcomings as a human. It contains the stupid moments where I have deeply wounded those that I love. And it holds the key to cultural change.
When I have the courage to face my closet, I can deal with my judgmental heart, and ask God to help me love well. I can also be honest with how I have harmed those that I love, and ask for forgiveness. I can deal with the wounds that were perpetrated on me, and live no longer as a victim.
When I face my closet I can grieve the awful that was done to me, identify its impact on my heart, and let it go. I can find the truth of my value because I no longer run with fear from my story. I can work on my weakness.
Dealing with my truth gives me strength because that is where I learn who I am. Dealing with all of my story enables me to no longer be a victim. Knowing who I am gives me the courage to no longer be defined by what was done to me. Knowing who I am helps me to silence the lies and the hurtful voices of those that don’t know how to love. Finding me and being authentic is what changes the world.
Want to change the world? Stop gun violence? Start with your closet. Be the person in your world that knows how to love. Be the one that forgives. Make friends with you. Be the one that has the courage to speak the truth in love.
Be loving, but be bold. Also be patient and kind even when it is not deserved. Apologize. Be selfless. Protect and tend to your children. Take care of orphans. Be a better parent. Be better tomorrow than you were today. Admit mistakes and don’t let them define you. Love the unlovely, no matter their behavior. Deal with you, and you will change your world. As long as we see others as the problem, the problem will never change.
I Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.