As one who has ministered in counseling and discipleship for many years, I understand the value of recognizing the bad things which have happened to us so we might approach the Lord for specific healing. We cannot cry out to the Lord about wounds in our souls if we do not know they are there and what they are.
However, I ALSO recognize that announcing to the world that "I am a ________ victim" signals to the devil what he had been successful in tempting others to hurt us this way. That only encourages him to keep it up; plus, every time we do this we renew in our minds and brains the memories of how we became, in our own eyes, a victim.
It keeps us there.
In addition, whenever we say the term "I am a ____________" we are announcing an identity statement. Each of these comes with a script for how to be and behave according to (in OBEDIENCE TO) that identity. Since the wound came from the devil, so will the script of victim behaviors.
Guess what? One of those is to glorify the devil by constantly announcing victimhood.
Hasn’t he gotten enough?
If I were to say, “I am a victim” there isn’t really much difference in that dynamic from me announcing, “I am Mike.” By virtue of me saying it, I name myself to the people I meet. They come to know me in terms of how I have identified myself to them.
There are some who identify themselves in terms of being a victim because they think it will benefit them to do so. They crave the sympathy of others. They want the attention. Some will try to use it to launch a career…maybe even a ministry…in the name of whatever was done to them to make them a “victim”.
Think about that. If they never address the issue of identity, their ministry will, ultimately, glorify the enemy who dragged them into victimhood in the first place…causing the injuries and then fooling the victims into seeing themselves in terms of his malevolent work in their lives. Even if they try to glorify God in their ministry it will still bring attention to satan and encourage him to hurt them over and over again.
These victim identities ALL come from someone or something on the earth (like a tragic accident or abuse). God’s initial response when we come to Him with our wounds is to heal our souls. If we are willing, though, He will go MUCH deeper. He will take satan’s efforts to ensnare us with a victim identity and mentality and turn it into something He has always craved to do for all mankind: replace our earthly identity with a new identity which comes from HIM in heaven.
“For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.” (Isaiah 62:1-4)
In this beautiful passage God acknowledges that life will cause some of us to have the identity of “Forsaken.” We could put the word “Victim” there because either would be an identity statement which had a hurtful earthly origin. He recognizes that some of these things would cause our “land”, symbolizing our lives, to be identified as “Desolate.”
God’s desire is to replace those identities with one which comes directly from Him.
“You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD will name.” (Isaiah 62:2b)
What is that name? One which is hard to say but which is beautiful in meaning: “Hephzibah.” It basically means (God speaking) “You are delightful to Me.”
While satan would want us to be ever mindful of the damage he put into our souls…always worshiping him for hurting us, God simply wants to take that away and rename us “God’s delight.”
And, what about our “land” (or our lives)? God changes that name from “Desolate”, which means “utter devastation”, to “Beulah” which literally means “to master.” In other words, God’s desire is that we (in partnership with Him) rule over our lives…instead of satan ruling our lives through a victim identity.
This is so important for us to grasp that the Lord repeats Himself because that is also the meaning of the term “and your land shall be married” (Isaiah 62:4b).
So, what shall we do? Will we continue to view ourselves in terms of what satan has done to hurt us, announcing our victim identity to the whole world? Will we cooperate with the devil to keep ourselves and others in bondage?
Or, will we repent of that sin against ourselves? Will we, instead, seize this new name and identity the Lord has given to us in Christ?
“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17)
It seems to me that the more time we spend with the Lord the more likely we Christians will see EVERYTHING with new eyes...spiritual eyes, if you will. This can be a difficult adjustment.
I spent so many years seeing myself in terms of what had happened to me. Perhaps you have too. Even as a Christian it was hard for me to see myself like this: “the LORD delights in you” (Isaiah 62:4); however, that IS our ETERNAL reality as Christians.
We are God’s Delight. Let’s grab hold of THAT identity and let all those other ones fall to the base of the Cross where they belong.
As I close this article it occurs to me that satan’s attacks all attempt to separate people, giving some identities which seem more shameful than others. In other words, his hurtful work seeks to set up some sort of sick class system in the world of victimhood.
One wonderful thing God has done is to erase all that earthly caste system, giving every single one of us the very same name: “God’s delight.” While we have each been given by God various gifts, talents, missions, and arenas in which to operate, we are ALL, in Christ, equally delightful in His sight.
In, other words, in one proclamation God has simultaneously changed our identities AND united us in Him.
That’s OUR Father!
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© November 5, 2021
(for use with permission)