The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines victim as a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed or killed by someone else; a person who is cheated or fooled by someone else; someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event; someone that is tricked or duped; one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment.
Based on Merriam-Webster’s loose – and I mean VERY loose – definition of victim, we’ve all been victims either from childhood, relationships, circumstances, conditions, or environment.
Heck, then we could all – for all intents and purposes – justify the means by being a victim, right?
I’ve been a “victim” of maliciousness in my childhood, being mothered by someone who lacked motherly instinct, rape, social injustices (hello, misogyny), former churches, addiction, and the list goes on and on.
So, I could easily justify and validate actions by the latter, but I refuse to.
I’m not going to perpetuate the term victim by living my life being a benchwarmer allowing all of those negative things that happened to me consume the light that Jesus Christ has instilled within me.
Nope. I refuse to do it.
Go back just mere months in my relationship with God, I don’t know if I would have had the strength to do that. I don’t know if I could tell my flesh, “NO, Tammy. You’re better than that.” I don’t know if I could be similar to Jesus and turn the other cheek and I certainly don’t think I could just give it all to God and pray day in and day out for that perfect peace that He gives us.
I’ve played the victim – and again, one could say I had justifiable reasons to – for over 30 years and most of those traits that’s synonymous with “woe is me” I learned from my mother and family. I learned when someone did you wrong, you played that card to sling as much filthy guilt their way as possible until….until you got what you wanted.
One could say it was a vicious cycle of selfishness, victim role play, malice, and deceit. I lived that life for so long, and I truly thought that everyone was out to get me until I had a breaking point this past holiday season. Even multiple weeks afterwards, a part of me was intent on relishing in that role and parts of my mind were convoluted and transfixed on sweet revenge.
I didn’t give up covering the NBA just to backtrack to the venomous person I once was, God said.
I wasn’t spending days having this robust, emotionally-charged conversations with Him to backtrack, God said.
I wasn’t focused on progressing with my relationship with Him, to just throw it out the window to get irrelevant people “back”, God said.
I wasn’t being healed from past hurts, to just open up new hurts, God said.
I was a newer Tammy, and God certainly didn’t want me to lose sight on my eternal prize to just glorify my flesh – my weakness – and possibly another not-so-nice person downstairs.
Playing the victim even when we are indeed the victim – and I’m not referring to victims of car accidents, family deaths, health afflictions, but rather victims of emotional battery that many of us have been through – is such an immature stance and is reflective on our spiritual maturity.
Man, I’m spiritually mature, and I’m certainly not going to cloud that with fleshly manure.
And, yes, those past incidents – being called a “witch”, being on the receiving end of fundamentalist Christianity, a jacked up childhood, the rising popularity of sexism, etc – are fleshly manure.
Manure is great for cultivation, but it stinks.
Fleshly manure is great for learning, defining ourselves and our future trajectories, molding our life experiences, but it stinks.
When manure stinks what do you do?
I sure as hell don’t get closer to it, I get away from it.
And never get close to that manure again.
This life that God has so graciously given to us. He doesn’t want us to play the victim. He doesn’t want us to get trapped in the redundancy of victim role playing and certainly not to manipulate others by being immature children and acting in this manner.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. – Ephesians 4:28
I know far too many people take the Bible too literally – it is literally the most artistic piece of work known to man – and believe the above verse is just about stealing some tangible product. However, we all know that often times we, ourselves, are the biggest culprits in thievery. We are stealing our own integrity, self-esteem, maturity, godliness, compassion just to live in the flesh momentarily.
That’s not what our vast God wants for us. He wants us to be as honest with ourselves as we expect our leaders of the church to be honest.
God loves us so much, he doesn’t want us to rationalize our predicaments in that victim role. He IS an out-of-the-box God, and thus, wants his children to claim that same trait.
Just yesterday, I met with someone from my former church – who had nothing to do with my horrible experience there and I do love her like she is my own sister – and she was bringing up the past incidents. She was surprised at how I seem oblivious to the way they had treated me – their tactlessness, pride, etc, but I simplified it for her.
“I can’t change anyone. You can’t change anyone. Only God can and that’s only if they allow it.”
She was confounded that I seemed okay rather than being an emotional weeble-wobble. I said:
Those past experiences I needed. I need those so I can appreciate what I have so much more. I needed that brief pain to catapult me to the glory I am attempting to bring God now. I’m not a victim. And if they choose to play the victim that’s between them and God, but I think of them as much as I think of a cockroach.”
That’s really what I implore everyone to do.
I know it’s hard, trust me I KNOWWW, but forgiveness is needed.
Forgive, forget, and quit being the victim.
I don’t think I could ever do this without God nor without this incredible journey I am on.
Doing the impossible?
Yeah, I’m not the victim.
It’s like I’m doing the possible.
P.S. My definition of a victim is someone that is utterly and completely powerless. So, are you a victim?