One of our cultural contagions is overactive victimhood. Everyone is a victim of something and, once a victim, always a victim. This isn’t to deny longstanding results of being sinned against, or even the existence of permanent scars. It is to say that a person’s identity does not need to be in victimness.
Christians should be able to show how this is done and to provide a way to talk about identity according to the gospel.
When Jesus saves, He saves us into a new identity. Peter wrote:
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)
Salvation changes our status. It gives us a testimony, and that testimony doesn’t deny the past. Our testimony acknowledges the past as the past on the way to affirming what is true now. We were lost, now we’re found. We we’re blind, now we see. We were dead, He has made us alive. We remember where we were in order to rejoice in who we are.
Of course we were not the only victim in our testimony. We were also the offenders in a previous situation. In order for our offense to be forgiven, Jesus had to die. Jesus will always be known as the sacrificial victim, but the victim who volunteered and who won. He is the “Lamb standing as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). We will never forget His suffering, but His suffering will forever be a cause, not of sadness, but of celebration. His sacrifice purchased our eternal life. It belongs with His mercy that caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
We are the house of the Lord. We are His dwelling place, an assembly of those who have received mercy by the blood of the Lamb, and God is pleased to eat with us.