Note to Teen: You’re a Victim, and You Can Change
All of us are victims. Adam dealt us a death blow. We’re all culpable too. The bottom line is you’re a “guilty victim.” Let’s move on. If you want to change, you can change. No excuses. Just do it. Here are five things for your consideration.
I had a long list of reasons why I was the way I was. Though I knew I needed to change, I was quick to make a strong case about the injustices in my life. This smoke and mirrors routine softened my sin while firmly ensnaring me into a victim-centered prison.
There was enough truth about my victimization to blind me to what I needed to do. And there were enough friends to affirm my justifications by their sympathy, which is why I stayed in my sin while not feeling so bad about it. This numbing of the conscience move was deadly (Hebrews 3:7–8). It took a 10 x 10 jail cell to drive a different kind of truth through my thick head.
So let me state the obvious here: You are a victim. Sin came to all of us through one man (Romans 5:12). Now flip the coin over: You’re also culpable. For all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Your best move is to focus more on your culpability than your victim-ness.
Just because you’ve had a horrible experience, it does not mean you have to stay there. None of us got the life we wanted. To some degree and in some way you were ripped-off by somebody. That is a sad consequence of sin’s curse, but it does not have to leave you despairing.
The same good Lord who gave us a perfect world has created a plan to give us another perfect world. Rather than blaming the Lord for what happened to you, you can bless His holy name for His redemptive plan.
He has not given up on you. The original intent for humanity can come to you if you want it to come to you. The garden is gone, and the consequences of the fall remain, but you do not have to be held down by sin. You have a choice to make:
- Continue to allow sin’s domination to rule over you.
- Call out to the Lord, asking Him to help you claim the victory given to Jesus Christ. Be a victim no more.
Nobody has ever done anything to you that is more severe or more damning than what you have done to Christ. The sinless Son of Man died on a cruel tree to rescue you from your sins (John 19:30). It is unwise and unhelpful to focus on your victim-hood in light of Calvary’s truth.
There is a sweet love found in the heart of God, but you have to do something to get it. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). God told Adam what he could do and what he better not do (Genesis 2:16–17). It was his decision regarding life or death, and it is yours too.
If you continue to hold onto your victim card, you will never experience the love of God the way God wants you to enjoy it. You experience more alienation from the life you could have with God (Ephesians 4:17–19).
Adam has victimized you. Maybe you have been victimized by your parents and others. If so, your hurt is real. There is no minimizing this. I would not recommend pretending what happened to you is not real, and it does not hurt.
Let’s face it: You did not get the life you wanted. Perhaps you’re an angry teenager, who hoped to have a better life circumstance. I hear you. That is what I wanted. I was hurt, lonely, discouraged, and angry. What I could not realize is how this is the way everybody lives. No exceptions. To expect a Genesis 1–2 lifestyle in a post-Genesis three world is misguided thinking at best.
As you begin to change, keep reminding yourself about your motives for change. My motivation for changing as a fifteen-year-old was because I was tired of being me. Regardless of what my abusive dad did, I wanted to be free from my anger prison. The journey began with that decision. True freedom came ten years later when God saved me (John 3:7; Galatians 5:1).
If you need to change, start changing. Don’t over-complicate it or over-think it. Just start. Decide to stop whatever it is you’re doing or thinking. Don’t put conditions on it. Don’t say, “I will change after you [fill in the blank].” Even as an unregenerate kid I knew better than that.
Though I had no clue as to where this new way was going to take me or what the results would be, it didn’t matter–I had to change. After I had made that decision, nothing in my external relational life changed. My brothers were still mean. My dad was still a drunk. My school teachers continued to judge me because of my well-deserved reputation. Nobody reached out to help.
Having people helping would have been nice, but their lack of responses did not hinder me from changing. I changed because I was tired of being the way I was. I could not control what others were doing, but I could purpose in my heart to change.
Looking backward, thinking how things could have been while hoping for a different outcome in the future will not change you. The Lord has something better for you (John 12:32; 3:14–16). Though He did not create your mess, He has a plan to walk you through your mess.
Call to Action
Do you want to change? If so, here are five things you need to do:
1 — Be Honest — Don’t play the victim card. Tell the real truth about yourself. Don’t add any if, and, or but to the drama in your life. Make it all about you, not others. Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about you.
2 — Tell a Friend — Let someone know how you need to change and why you need to change. Hold them accountable for holding you accountable. Don’t let them off the hook. Make them speak into your life.
3 — Guard Your Heart — Watch yourself from yielding to the temptation to fall back into old patterns. You want specific things to happen in your life and relationships. That makes you normal. Personal change does not mean you’ll get the life you want.
4 — Express Gratitude — Thank God daily because He gave you the desire and power to change. For God to care so much about you to motivate you to change is a profound reason for daily gratitude.
5 — Export the Gospel — Changing is not just for you. God regenerates and begins the process of sanctifying us for the purpose of spreading His fame to the lives of others. As you are changing, be sure to ask the Lord to bring people across your path so you can share the good news with them. Go and make disciples.
If I can help you in this journey, go here and let me know. Ask, and you will receive.
Originally published at Rick Thomas.