I was victimized by my family as a child physically, emotionally and sexually. I have gone through many therapy hours seeking wholeness and I have overcome much. But that doesn’t change my history. I know women’s support groups often speak of being “survivors not victims” but that is not quite right. I am a survivor, and I have overcome, but every news story of rape or child abuse, every TV and movie plot on the topic, and every time I look at a parent and young child together, I am reminded that I was abused. I have a thought of grief or feel a flash of sadness or fear, but I am now able to not dwell on these feelings or entertain painful thoughts. Except for an occasionally tough days the past no longer disrupts my days. But I am still a person who was victimized, but that is not the only thing that defines me.
There was a time in my life, a long period of time when my victimization seemed to be all that defined me. Now, I am also defined by the kind of person I am, who my friends are, what I have accomplished, my goals, my gifts and my talents. Most of all I am defined by my salvation in Christ. The very Son of God came to walk among his creation for our good, but he was abused, wounded, murdered by the world that holds together by this word and power. Yet that is not all that happened to Jesus – he rose from the grave and lives in his full glory once again. He can not be overcome by men or principalities. He is not haunted by his suffering but through it offers us comfort and kinship. He will return to reign in glory and power. Yet, no matter how holy his reign in heaven, no matter how glorious his return shall be, it doesn’t erase the suffering of his final days and crucifixion. And that is a good thing.
Because Jesus suffered and died, we have peace with God. We have salvation, we have a great high priest. He understands our pain and betrayal. He knows the sorrow of being rejected and beaten by those who should love him. Jesus is our comforter through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our guide and our strength. While on this earth, I will always be affected by my victimization, but that is not the final word on who I am. Rather than deny my past, I can allow God to use it in my life to reach out to the wounded and broken. You don’t have to remain just a victim, you don’t have to deny that you were a victim, you can find identity in Christ and in your gifts and skills, in who you are as a person. You can move forward in you life. How? by letting the one who was wounded and crucified lead you to walk beyond your suffering and touch the world with His loving kindness and grace.
Dare to be no longer just a victim!