Have you ever known someone who could go to the circus, have an elephant step on their foot, clowns spit on them, pop spilled down their back and still get stuck with nothing but peanut shells? This is the caricature of a martyr. Many victims become martyrs.
Most dysfunctional families could write their own book of martyrs. The truth is we’ve all had bad luck, but healthy people realize victim-hood is a fallacy.
The song victims sing excuses, excuses, excuses. Every boss they ever had was mean. Their friends rip them off. The cops are out to get them. Because victims see everything in short supply they usually have nothing to give. Some victims even claim to have less hours in the day than everyone else.
No one has the same resources. There will always be someone with more money, health and time. Victims are constantly comparing what they have with what others have and they always come up short. That’s because they’re so consumed with their own needs, they can’t spare any money, time or sympathy for other people.
Many parents of dysfunctional families feel terrible for causing their children’s pain, but instead of apologizing, they often feel they need to deny everything. Whenever we hurt another, it’s always better to own it so we can all move on. If we don’t it becomes a festering wound.
Victims often grow up to become martyrs. Abusive parents were probably abused themselves. In her book No Longer Naked and Ashamed, Jean Sheldon puts forth the idea that we’ve all been abusers and we’ve all been abused. This is because we live in a damaged world where we’ve lost our original picture of love. God is the only one who is not an abuser. Jesus came to re-install God’s other-centered love into our hearts. As we learn to be more like Jesus, we will stop abusing other people.
No one needs to judge anyone–parents or children, for the mistakes they’ve made, people feel enough pain already. At the same time we can’t let others abuse us for telling the truth. The reason we stand up for ourselves is because we are no longer victims.
We can overcome victim-hood by taking control of our own lives. We are only as helpless as we choose to be. We help to heal the injustice that was done to us by helping someone else. It is only by taking control of our own life that we can become wholehearted.
The best way to stop being a victim is to name it, claim it and forgive it. Then stand up and let your voice be heard.
Do you think anyone
is going to be able to drive a wedge
between us and Christ’s love for us?
There is no way!
Not trouble, not hard times,
not hatred, not hunger,
not bullying threats,
not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us.
-Romans 8:35-37, MSG