Ephesians 4:29-5:2 – “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” NKJV
I believe that one of the key sources or roots causing a person to develop a Victim Mentality is BITTERNESS. Many harbor resentment so deeply that it dominates their lives. The question is why do we replay the hurt over and over in our minds reliving the old wounds? It is because we go back to The Lie, “you shall be as God.”
What does God do? He is in control. Therefore, if we believe that we are like God then we envision ourselves as being in control. If we are in control then we are in charge of the punishment to be meted out to the ones who hurt us. They can never be set free because we are determined to eventually make them hurt like they hurt us or maybe even more.
We lock the door to our lives and attempt to influence as many others to lock the offender out as well. In fact, it can escalate to the point that we want them eradicated from the human race declaring them that despicable. WHY? We have become the Victim. If you had not said or done what you did I would not be an addict, alcoholic, abandoned, economically or socially deficient. It was your fault! Because of you, I have been living in Hell and now I’m going to send you there as well. The pain is real and incredible for the Victim.
If I could somehow get everyone to realize that no human being can make you do anything you are free. It is a choice. He or she makes me so mad! No, you choose to become angry. But, you are a Victim because you were injured. They did it to you so do not ask me to forgive them THEY ARE WRONG! The victim chooses to remember and by holding on to it he/she believes they can guarantee it will never happen again. The wall is erected and the list of offenders denied access grows almost daily.
Some never forgive because they do not understand forgiveness. They think if they forgive the offender they will be hurt again and become a doormat. But what is forgiveness? It is not calling a truce, admitting defeat, letting evil win or saying let’s just forget it. Have you ever had someone who hurt you come and apologize and you say, “Oh, it was nothing”? That is not the truth and you know it! IT HURT and was far more than nothing! Some have the mistaken idea that if they do not admit it hurt it doesn’t exist but if you will not or cannot admit the pain you cannot forgive.
Forgiveness is never condoning. We are often told we must forgive but rarely are we told how to forgive. We are told the why behind forgiveness but not the how. We hear that we must forgive because Christ has forgiven us and if we do not forgive we will not be forgiven. True, but how do we forgive?
What does God do? He takes the initiative and comes to us. The one that we sinned against comes and takes our place. He chooses to bear all our guilt, grief and sorrow. He pays our debt with His own blood. Then He rises from the dead and extends a full pardon to us. We are Free! Remember the workers hired at different times of the day? As the owner of the vineyard begins to hand out the pay he begins with those who worked least and paid them but as he worked through to those who had worked all day he paid the same wage and they were irate. Not fair was the cry! Exactly, life is not fair and we should be glad God is not fair for if He were we would have something quite other than salvation and pardon.
What do we do? We REPENT! We surrender and receive His grace. There is no discussion of the past. The key is that we are to forgive “just as” God has forgiven us. We must BE that which He has made us. Be kind. Be tender-hearted. Be forgiving. Be someone who dishes out grace. It changes the entire attitude and moves us from being victims to victors. Therefore, you take BITTERNESS and get rid of it. You banish it from your life. You hold it up to the light of God’s Grace and begin learning a lifestyle of forgiveness. You will repeat it over and over again for a long time, most likely. It will become who you are and then your actions and attitude will reflect His Forgiveness and become Forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not divine amnesia and we forgive by faith! We choose to not lay their sin to their charge and release them. May the Lord be with you guarding and guiding you through this day!