Victors, not victims

When I was only three years old and I lied, I knew it was wrong. No one had to tell me lying was wrong. I knew lying was wrong even when I thought up the lie and chose the “perfect” time to tell it.

When I was about five years old, I knew it was wrong to steal my friend's ring, but I wanted it. Knowing it was wrong, I stole it in secret. Just like my lie was crafted in secret; and so are all sins...planned and plotted in the recesses of our sin-filled flesh that only Christians battle with daily.

God is faithful, and He did for us, what He promised:
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

~ Hebrews 10:16
One of the things that amazes me about God is how He enables our finite minds to understand deep things about His infinite Being no matter our age or intellect.

I came to know Jesus as my Lord, my Master, my Savior and God when I was only four years old. I didn’t know much when I was four, but I knew all I needed to know to come to saving faith. I knew that I was a selfish, manipulative, prideful, and self-glorifying little girl. It wasn’t difficult to convince me that I had broken God’s perfect law and deserved to suffer for the rest of my life here on earth, then writhe in unspeakable pain for all eternity in Hell.

All I needed was someone (it happened to be my Sunday School teacher) to teach me God’s 10 Commandments to realize that I had, at four, already broken eight of them (it turns out it was actually nine, but I hadn't learned yet that Jesus said if you hated someone, you've committed murder in your heart [1 John 3:15]).

I was taught how holy, righteous, perfect, good and sovereign God is, and in the brilliance of His holiness, I clearly saw that I was in big trouble and I was terrified and ashamed. That’s why the Good News of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross for my sins became the best news I had ever heard!

It wasn’t difficult at four to trust Christ with my life. It didn’t make sense to me to trust anyone else. Because, who could or would take someone like me and love me enough to take my guilt, shame and punishment upon themselves just so I could live and have my eternity in Heaven secured? No one. No one else would or could, for I knew that only Jesus was God made flesh and He alone was sinless; therefore He alone was qualified.

I’ve seen some terrible things in my lifetime. I’ve witness horrors that have happened to people I don’t know as well as people I do know. And sometimes, that person was me.

I remember one of those dark times where the hands of evil lashed out its fiercest blows on my frail, little four year old body and refused to cease for the next 13 years. I remember wondering if there was ever going to be an end to this slavery of anger and horrid brutality.

In my teen years, I remember trusting an older man who worked with me and found that trusting him, would become a source of great shame. No matter how hard I tried, the water couldn’t wash away what he did to me...especially the pain in my heart and doubts in my mind that somehow, it was my fault. Filled with the horrors of being violated, and anguished with doubts, I was afraid to tell anyone.

At the time, I felt the only way I would no longer be a victim, was simply to no longer be. At 15, I chose to end my life so no one could ever hurt me again. I attempted to take the life God gave me three times.

“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple...For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me on level path because of my enemies...Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
~ Psalm 27:3-4, 10-11, 14

As I sat at my desk writing my “good-bye” note, I had a question for God, not because I wanted to please Him, no, in this moment I was only concerned with self-preservation and revenge on all who hurt me. But I wanted to make sure I was still going to Heaven, so I asked, “Father, someone told me that if I took my own life, You would hate me forever and send me to Hell because this is the only sin you will not forgive. Is that true?”

The LORD answered through His Word, “You are My child. I will never leave you or forsake you (2 Cor 4:9). Your life is secure in my Son (Jn 10:28-29) and in Him, you were given the freedom to please Me and no longer give into the wicked desires of your flesh (Heb 11:6, 1 Pet 2:16). Whenever you disobey Me, I am grieved (Eph 4:30). I gave you life, and only I have the right to take it (Job 1:21).”

To this, I broke down in bitter tears. My heart was racing and I could barely breathe as I considered my Heavenly Father’s words to me. All I could think was, "Only God, only God has loved me like no other. Only God has been there for me, loved me, listened to me, protected me, provided for me, comforted me and sat in my troubles with me while others did to me whatever seemed right to them."

I didn’t care if I hurt anyone else. At that point I didn’t care if other peoples' hearts broke. I felt as if they deserved to feel some of my pain. But God feel my pain? No! I couldn’t bear the thought of grieving or hurting the One who already hurt and suffered so much for me. I couldn’t bear the thought of hurting the One who gave His life for me, so that I could live...not die!

It no longer mattered what others did to me or what they thought of me. I could only think of loving Jesus with everything I had. That day, I took my “good-bye” letter, changed the “Dear mom and dad” to “A Selfish Act”. I’ve kept it for years and shared it with many teenagers and their parents so I could share with them, what God had shared with me that day—the unsurpassing joy and greatness of knowing Christ.
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -- that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

~ Philippians 3:7-11

I chose that day, to no longer believe the deception that I was a victim of this world and circumstance. Instead, I chose then and still choose now, to stand in awe of God and His Gift of Life in Christ Jesus.

I am not a victim of this world or the people in it. I have been made a new creation in Christ and am a victor in Him.

Now the choice is yours. Will you choose to continue living in the deception that you are a victim of Satan, this world and/or your circumstances? Or will you choose to live in the truth with me? Will you resolve this day to refuse to sit around waiting for the world to happen to you, but instead, be determined that you will happen to the world, because Jesus Christ happened to you?

If you’ve chosen the latter, then go now and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with anyone and everyone God lays on your heart. Not because it is your duty, but out of desperate love and gratitude for our Savior and Lord who did what He didn’t have to: trade our trash for His treasure.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus or Lord.”

~ Romans 8:35-39

“Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver and Paul is deluded, or some extraordinary thing happens to a man who holds on to the love of God when the odds are all against God's character. Logic is silenced in the face of every one of these things. Only one thing can account for it—the love of God in Christ Jesus. 'Out of the wreck I rise every time.'”
~ Oswald Chambers