Monthly Archives: March 2019

Victim or Rebel?

The bondage of blame shifting

We must all decide if our fundamental problem is that we are a victim or a rebel. All of us have been wronged, some of us in profound and horrendous ways. This is truly tragic, and God’s heart bleeds compassion for you. So, I really do not want to play down the great evil & suffering that people have, are or will go through.

However, our own offense is far worse than anything done against us. Our offense is against the almighty, eternal God and so an almighty, eternal crime. Therefore my essential problem is not that I have been wronged but that I have wronged, not that I am a victim but that I am a rebel.

For a number of reasons this realisation is so important. One of which is that identifying as a victim or primarily focussing on the wrong done or said to us actually opens us up to emotional harm rather than dealing with it.

As a born again person we can only be damaged in our inner life if we allow ourselves to be so. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not saying that tragedy, hardship & suffering are not very real, and that deep grief, sorrow & anger are not the appropriate response to such things. But I am saying in Christ and Christ in us we have the power to resist these turning into emotional hurt. Our new nature is ‘imperishable’ 1 Peter 1v23ESV. If we choose to connect to and live from this nature via our thoughts, our emotions will be primarily influenced by it and not the attacks and turmoil of the outside life.

One who has put their trust in the death of Jesus is a child of God (John 1v12), loved by the Almighty, a co-heir with Christ (Romans 5v5, 8v17). We are not a victim but a conqueror (Romans 8v37).  Our rebellion is no longer recognised because the very righteousness of Jesus has replaced it (Jeremiah 23v6), our standing and identity is no longer sinner but saint (1 Corinthians 1v2). We have died to sin (Rom 6). The circumstances and horrors of life do not reign over us but we can reign over them (Romans 5v17)!

We must all make a decision, either that someone & something else is our biggest problem in life or that ‘I’ am! If it is someone or something else, then we are at the mercy of this person, thing or situation, with the power of true change, life and joy being beyond us, out of our control.  If ‘I’ am my biggest problem then in Christ and Christ in me I am able to sort it out and take the steps forward required for true change, life and joy!

Let’s humbly take responsibility for our own life; own it and everything that comes with it. Through Jesus we have all that we need His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness’ 2Peter 2v3 ESV. This is either true or it is not! To grasp truth is to start to take control of our life and the rest will follow!  

Express or Invert

Flourish or Perish

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7v10 ESV

Part of repentance is to express what we feel to God & others. Which requires admitting to ourselves what we really think & feel. Even healthy, godly grief unexpressed can turn into unhealthy worldly grief with regret. However, this is not just true of grief but of all emotions. For godly emotions to remain so they need to be expressed and for worldly emotions to be processed & dealt with they too must be expressed as part of turning to God (repentance).

By definition emotions or feelings must be expressed in some form or way. An unexpressed emotion is a suppressed & therefore incomplete emotion. The only alternative to emotions being expressed is for them to be inverted in on our-self. That is for them to become focussed on & centred upon ‘self’ rather than God and others. This is the exact opposite of what emotions are for. They are for us to feel internally what is going on externally. Not to obsess with ourselves, but to delight in God and care for others. This is the difference between godly grief and worldly grief; godly emotions and worldly emotions.

Sometimes we use the phrase ‘you hurt my feelings’. I would like to suggest that often when we say this or something similar it is actually our pride that is hurt. It is our concept or perception of ‘self’ that has been wounded. The identity & glory I attribute to myself has been challenged and it is this that I feel.

So, it is best to be as specific as we can when we express our emotions both positive & negative, so we can see what we feel and why we feel it. What is healthy & godly and what is unhealthy & worldly; what is appropriate & fair to feel and what is inappropriate & unfair to feel.

Phrases like: ‘I feel sad that…’ ‘I feel happy about…’ ‘I love that…’ I feel bitter about…’ ‘I feel disappointed that…’ are far more specific and helpful than ‘my feelings are hurt’ or ‘I’m upset’. Let’s find helpful ways to express our negative & positive, godly and worldly emotions, and live without regret as we more fully turn to God in Christ. Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62v8 ESV).