Dear People Who Keep Company With God,

Many years ago a young man approached me and said, “Byron, you were almost a victim.”  I could not believe what I was hearing.  I did not know whether to be offended or feel complemented.  I honestly had never considered myself to be anything near a victim.  On my worst days, I considered myself to be a survivor and on most days I believed I had overcome a lot of obstacles and was living a relatively victorious life.

His statement did cause me to do some soul searching though.  I found out some things about being a victim. It is not always apparent; we can be a victim and not even know it. Victimization by its very nature is deceiving and I discovered I had been victimized after all. Here are four ways I was victimized.

1. Victims are passive. They are acted upon. For years I blamed my parents for some of the issues I had in my life until the Holy Spirit confronted me. He asked me a simple question, “When are you going to take responsibility for your life?” I did that very day. You have to accept responsibility for the outcomes of your life both good and bad. You don’t blame others. And you don’t blame the external environment. There are always things you could have done or still can do to change the outcome. Until you take responsibility, you are a victim.

2. Victims are powerless. As long as I am the victim, I am powerless to change. But the truth is, I have a choice. For years, I was in toxic relationships and they were slowly draining all the life out of me. Things changed when I made a decision to change them. I deliberately built new boundaries in my life and enforced them. No one could do this for me. I decided I could not keep going on like I was, and I didn’t have to. In fact, God did not want me to. God has given all of us the power of choice.

3. You can be a victim of yourself. By nature I am a fighter that is how God created me. Kind of like King David, I am a man of war (1 Chron. 28:3). In fact my name, Byron, means bear. God named me, but He did redeem and sanctify that bear nature, otherwise, I would have destroyed everyone that I loved and eventually myself and I almost did. It has been said our strengths are our weaknesses.  It is true. We need to be our authentic self, but if our authentic self is not yoked to Jesus it is going to be bad.

4. You can be a victim of success. The term success has a sense of finality to it that works against you. There is always a temptation to maintain the status quo; to hold onto what you have achieved, what God has done, but standing still is going backwards.  So many believers, churches, spiritual movements and corporations stagnate because they have succeeded. The path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter (Prov. 4:18) and all the blessings are found upon the path the righteous walks, but a path indicates movement, not sitting still longer than warranted.

Many Blessings, BW

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