Friday, June 06, 2008

Identity in Christ

Ours has become a culture of victimization. Being the victim of a crime or some kind of sin is an awful thing. No one disputes this. But in our culture being a victim has taken on a life far beyond what the crime or sin itself warrants. Being sinned against does change your life and it changes it forever, but our culture has made a sort of cult out of being a victim. People who have become victims often change the way they view themselves so that the crime or sin against them becomes the focus of their entire life. The awful event becomes central in their lives. Their basic identity is tied to the sin-filled event in a fundamental way. They often come to the place where they think of themselves as a survivor of X, or someone who has had X happen to them, or someone who is X. Consequently, they form clubs, groups, and organizations with other people of X. Many see this as normal and even a way to cope with or overcome the terrible emotional scarring that this sort of event creates in someone’s soul.

But is this a good thing for someone to whom X has happened? Are they condemned to spend the rest of their lives tied to this despicable event that happened to them? Is there any remedy? Will they always be an X victim?

The Bible tells us that when someone sins against us we are to forgive their sins. Forgiveness means to let it go, to let them go, to not hold the sin against them, and to not remember that sin or event again. "But you don't understand how terrible the sin was. You don't know the pain, the agony, the constant hurt. The event happened years ago, but the pain is ever present. Thoughts of X constantly fill my mind. Let it go? You're out of your mind. X is such an ever present force in my life, it literally defines who I am. To let X go would be like becoming another person entirely."

And that's exactly what the Bible says about coming to Christ. Jesus said "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He says, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow me." He says the way you get a new life is to be reborn, to become someone new, to start over. In all these things the person who is characterized by X needs to give X up so they can become Christ’s. They need to forgive those who have sinned against them. They need to cling to Christ. They need to trust God to take care of the situation. They need to let it go. Let Christ give them His identity. Stop being an X person - become a Christian. And this reminds us to confess our sins.

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