Christa mentioned Monday that a label can become one’s identity. This is certainly true with “The Victim”. Women bond over their victimization. Women draw strength from and are validated by others who have walked the same road. Sharing the deepest hurt in a woman’s life creates a bond. Unfortunately, rather than getting together with fellow “victims” and rejoicing that she has survived the deepest darkest valley she can imagine and is now basking in the glow of Christ’s love, “The Victim’s” relationships often revolve around her victimization. She wears her nametag everywhere she goes, introduces her past into every new relationship… she is completely and totally “The Victim”.
I have dear friends, good Christian women, who have told the story of their victimizations so often that I can repeat the stories word for word. These women are not “lost”. They are Christians. They are “saved”….from everything but their past…..and it crushes my heart. I have been there. I wore my “Victim” name badge with some sort of misguided pride. I used my badge to justify my actions. I used my badge to hide behind. I felt like I had earned the title “victim” and I was going to use it to my advantage. Then one day something changed….I realized that Jesus wanted to give me more that a “get out of Hell free” ticket to use when I breathe my last breath. He wanted me to “have life and have it more abundantly”.
In his book When God Whispers Your Name, Max Lucado talks about “your sack of stones”. You can go to: http://maxlucado.com/pdf/upwords.stronger.broken.pdf and read the story. Excuse the pun, but this story hit me like a ton of bricks 13 years ago. Giving credit to Mr Lucado for my inspiration, let me tell you how I finally traded in my label.
I have spent so much time in the past telling the story of my victimization so that people would “understand” where I’ve been….I want to give equal time now to my deliverance. Please kick off your shoes, grab a cup of coffee or a Diet Coke and go with me to one of the best days of my life thus far……
Christ is sitting at the foot of the cross. He is enjoying the sunshine. White puffy clouds are lazily drifting through the brilliant blue sky. The grass is emerald green. Tiny white flowers bob and weave in the gentle breeze. The air is warm, but not stuffy. The breeze is light and barely tousles Christ’s hair. Something catches His attention. Someone is coming to the cross.
I approach with a burlap sack so heavy that I can barely drag it. Christ looks up. He stands. I stop, look up, and hesitate. Do I dare bring my sack to Him? What will He think? What if He turns me away? What if he reprimands me? I wait. He waits. I continue. The sack is too heavy, as is my heart. I just cannot carry this weight any longer. Whatever His response is to my sack of stones, I am going to bring them to Him.
At the cross, I set the bag at Christ’s feet. He sits and invites me to sit with Him. I am nervous….what will He think when He opens my bag? He looks at me and His eyes are so kind. The kindest eyes I have ever seen. I trust Him. I open the bag. Inside the bag are rocks of different shapes and sizes. I close it back up. Do I really want to show this to my Savior? Christ waits. I open the bag again and pull out a small rock and timidly give it to Christ for inspection. I hold my breath as He takes it from me. He does not hesitate. He does not inspect it. He says nothing as he sets my little rock at the foot of the cross. Neither of us says a word. In the distance, a bird serenades us. I reach into the bag again and pull out another rock. This one is heavier. This is a sin that I committed of my own free will. I look at it and remember all the details of the moment. My heart feels the weight of this stone. I cannot look at my Savior as I extend my hand, hoping He will take it. Without hesitation, Christ takes the stone from me hand and places it at the foot of the cross. I take a deep breath and push my entire sack to Christ. Perhaps it will be easier to get this over with all at once. To my horror, instead of just setting the entire sack at the foot of the cross, Christ takes the sack and opens it. He takes out each and every individual rock and sets it at the foot of the cross. More than once, He pauses, running his fingers over a stone and a tear falls, leaving a dark spot on the rock. These are the rocks that represent the things that caused me the most pain and separated me from Him. He grieves for the pain these have caused me, but is thankful that I have brought them to Him.
Finally the bag is empty. I am emotionally spent. My sack is now just a puddle of burlap lying next to a large stack of rocks of all shapes and sizes.
Christ stands and reaches for my hand. He pulls me to my feet, and pulls me close, thankful that I have finally brought Him the things in my life that kept me from fully experiencing His love and the life He has planned for me. I savor the moment, resting in His embrace, listening to the beating of His heart, completely freed from the past.
We turn and walk together, leaving a pile of rocks at the foot of the cross.…..and I had a new label, one I have worn since that day, a new Badge that brings honor and freedom…My new badge says “Princess “ because my new identity is “Daughter of the King of Kings”.