As we continue our “It’s All About Me” blog series, we are moving on to the topic of self-protection, or victimization.
Before we jump into the discussion, let’s clarify. We are not discussing people who make themselves victims without cause or lie about victimhood.
Instead, we are focusing on those who are true victims of evil and are desperately trying to protect themselves rather than rely on God’s protection.
And, why would we do this? Why would we rely on our self rather than God?
God is omniscient (all-knowing) and all-powerful. God has all wisdom, all strength, and nothing takes God by surprise. He always knows what to do.
In contrast, we are limited, finite, and often confused about our situation and circumstances. We rely on gut feelings, and God never does. Our ways are often wrong, and God’s ways are always right.
So, I’ll ask again. Why would we rely on our self rather than God when God loves us so much? This blog is written to help you rely on God, especially during this most difficult time in your life.
In this blog, we hope to help you with the internal struggle you feel every day, and help you learn to trust God more through your experience.
We live in a fallen world; therefore, we experience hurts and betrayals. Some suffer horribly.
As such, many seek to protect themselves rather than ever trust others again. This seems to be a natural, safe response.
However, if your form of self-protection causes you to “lose sight of God [or] sink into unbelief (Powlison)” or sin, you’ve crossed into a very dangerous area.
For today’s difficult topic, we will be referring to the “Why Me?”: Comfort for the Victimized by David Powlison. I highly recommend this resource to our readers. You can buy it on Amazon: CLICK HERE.
Where “Why Me” Goes Wrong
At some point, you’ve probably had a “Why me?” moment.
Someone abused you. Someone you loved passed away. Someone close to you betrayed or hurt you. Someone devastated the life of someone in your life so bad the damage can never be repaired.
Whatever the hurt, whatever the pain, you are suffering. The hurt is real.
Why did this bad thing happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? Where are you, God? These are normal questions.
Even Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me (Matthew 27:46)?”
I’m not writing to you from an ivory tower. Years ago, my thirteen-year-old nephew passed away, and everyone in our family was asking these questions. I wondered if we’d ever recover!
As Powlison explains, “People can ask questions like these from two fundamentally different stances. [For Christ followers], the questions express a cry of faith that looks to God. In trouble, they want God but feel overwhelmed and isolated. Other people express a cry of unbelief, hatred, and accusation. In trouble, they blame God.” Furthermore, “Believing sufferers may wonder, but they call on Him to do something.”
Like all things, “Why me?” becomes a matter of the heart.
If your heart is hardened by the question, you need a heart change.
Instead, your heart should be softened at the idea of God’s comfort and His plan for restoration, so ask for God’s help in shaping your heart, and get help. More on help below.
We Should React to Evil
All you need to do is open the Bible, and you will see how God hates evil. We should, too!
We should hate when evil is done to us and others.
And, we should hate evil when we have sinned or done evil ourselves.
It is important to remember “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”
When it comes to being a victim, there are times when we need to assess our own sins, and there will be times when victims are completely innocent.
When an innocent person has been hurt, we should react! We should be outraged. We should be angry and upset.
“Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.”
– Psalm 97:10
God Has Seen and He Will Judge
Moreover, the victimized should seek hope in believing God has seen and knows their pain.
As Powlison writes, “God has seen the hurt and turmoil the wicked inflict.”
We can trust God to help us in our suffering, and we can trust God to judge those who have hurt us.
Powlison explains, “Evildoers reap what they sow.”
Knowing the truth of God’s wrath and judgment can be a huge source of hope for victims.
Why Hope Matters
When you have suffered and put your hope in God, you overcome.
When I was suffering, I tearfully asked my counselor, “When will life get back to normal?” She wisely responded that our marriage would never be normal again, but we’d find a new normal through Christ.
Unfortunately, some victims often allow evil to dampen their hope, and if I were in their situation, I probably would too, so, no judgment here. But staying in this pattern isn’t helpful.
Powlison says, “Other sufferers break when their schemes for earthly joy are broken. They come out vindictive, addicted, embittered, immoral, unbelieving, and greedy.” If your victimization causes you to harden your heart or become sinful, you must begin the hard work of relying on, leaning into, and trusting God rather than self.
What Suffering in a Godward Direction Leads To…
However, those who recover from pain and hurt by relying on God rather than self, find new hope.
God reveals Himself whenever He is sought, and He will pour Himself into you.
He will give you wisdom, and you will be vindicated.
As Powlison writes, “Faith finds God in suffering, producing endurance, love, and hope.”
Plus, God can use your suffering to minister to others if you will allow Him.
Ask Him for Help
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
– 1 John 5:14-15
When you have been victimized, cry out to God.
Powlison claims, “Many sufferers stay submerged in their thoughts and feelings, and stifle spoken prayer.”
Instead, ask God for help.
Express your feelings – God is big enough to handle them.
Ask others to pray for you and with you.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Finally, look for affirmations to give hope during this difficult season.
Memorize Scriptures to remind you constantly of God’s faithfulness, His love for you, and His promise to right wrongs.
Get help. Find a biblical counselor, and seek godly wisdom.
Special Note – While we have emphasized relying on God for protection rather than one’s self, there are times when it’s important to seek additional help, such as contacting the police, counselors, and ministry leaders. Powlison concludes, “The Lord is a refuge who leads us to rightly appropriate the many other helpers who can play a part in our lives.”