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News > Commentary - Getting help to avoid being victimized
Getting help to avoid being victimized

Posted 10/10/2012   Updated 10/10/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) Dwight Croy
JBER Chaplain

10/10/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Have you heard of "mission creep?"

Being a victim is like that. No one starts out in life and says to themselves, "I think I will be a victim today." This would be crazy talk. But life happens and trauma comes your way.

The enjoyable hot tub of life becomes the cannibals' meal. The gourmet cheese is sitting in a mouse trap. The soft forest floor you enjoyed fell away to a pit of darkness.
It is never God's intent for His creation to become victims. The word of God unfolds a story to bring us from victimization to the way God views us - a person of worth set aside for holy living.

In my first church as a pastor in southern Oregon, my ministry was to a lumber community who worked more than half the year and in the off season would drink alcohol and sometimes beat their wives, sometimes neglect their family's needs, and often spend the paycheck without providing food for their family.

This resulted in some midnight runs to a safe house or providing groceries. Some would escape the terrible trap and break out of the darkness. But some, in a very twisted way, would find routine, comfort, and familiarity with the way they were living, not knowing or experiencing what "normal" was.

Some who were helped to safety would return to a place of emotional danger and chaos. Sadly, we are now experiencing in our society third and fourth generations who have never known a peaceful home, a safe home, or a home of contentment.

If you suspect you are a victim, ask yourself some questions. Are you able to make choices without someone trying to control you and rob you of your choice? Normal people have the freedom of choice in all kinds of relationships; family, marriage, dating, friendship and so on.

Do you have a freedom to create things with paint, numbers, woodwork, writing - without someone controlling your own creation? Are you able to maintain multiple friendships without fear or control from one person? If you do not have choice in your hand, creativity that is yours, and only one relationship described as controlling, overpowering, and dominant, then you are on your way, if not already, in the world of victimization. A person of wholeness makes choices without fear, creates with freedom, and enjoys the interaction of multiple relationships.

Single ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce an old concept in dating that will help discern potential harmful relationships.

Date as a group to observe these things. How are you spoken of in a public setting? Are you treated as a person or a possession? Are you ignored or compared? How does the person you are interested in treat others? Is there a consistency in the way they equally value males and females? Is there a difference? The group setting will reveal and magnify strength or weakness.

Now let me talk to you as a helper of victims. In an innocent way, we can replace the oppressor to the victim. Do not reach your hand down so that they depend on you. Reach across and offer your strength and encouragement for a short time so they can become whole again.

Some victims are in darkness and reaching for help and some have become so emotionally blind, they do not know they need help and are not able to even reach for help. God has instructed us to help those who know they need help first. Being a helper can be damaging to a victim if we do not empower the powerless, let them see the light for themselves, and build them up to have courage on their own. Encouragement is the pouring of your courage into another. Show them strong and healthy relationships to emulate and surround themselves with until they know what "normal" should look like.
Do not help until you know that you also are a broken person. Only in this way can you reach across the confusing divide with grace and mercy. We are all in some way broken people.

But God in His loving kindness has reached out to us in mercy and has given us His command intent for His creation. "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (II Corinthians 4:6). A person who has experienced light and lived in its grace has an inclination to help those in darkness.

Life's highest elation is not only to help a victim, but move with them in transition from darkness to light, help their eyes adjust to normal, and then to see them turn and offer a hand across to bring another out of the darkness of victimization.

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