Victimization

January 16, 2020

Victimization

By Russell George

Please don’t let that big word make you decide not to read this article. You must see the word “victim” in the word. That means to suffer the consequences of something. To victimize someone is to make suffer as the victim of something.

It breaks my heart when I hear of the way some Christians victimize others because of something they have in their past. Divorce is a good case in point. Many times it has to do with a woman who has been divorced because her husband started living in adultery. He filed for divorce so he would be more at liberty to pursue his sinful lifestyle. If someone files for divorce, he or she is almost never denied it, even though they don’t have grounds for it. Men can also be the victims of a divorce that they didn’t want and didn’t bear much of the blame for it.

Some like to think that when there is a divorce both marriage partners are equally at fault. That is seldom true. Many know what it is to wet their pillow with tears every night. Again and again they have asked themselves, “What did I do wrong?” Maybe they can think of things they could have done better, but they aren’t anywhere near as guilty as their marriage partner. If there had been anything they could have done to save their marriage they would have gladly done it. According to the Bible, the only grounds for divorce is adultery. They have never done that.

Yes, according to Malachi 2:16, God hates divorce. “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” We should also hate divorce. It is always because of sin and it causes the breakup of the family and terrible suffering.

Some churches have in their by laws a section that says that divorced people can’t be Sunday school teachers or hold an office in the church. They make no exception for those who were divorced against their will. Those Christians aren’t allowed to exercise their spiritual gifts and make their contribution to the church.

Let’s not victimize the innocent party. Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Put yourself in the place of the innocent divorce victim. Would you want to be penalized the rest of your life because of something in your past that you had no way of preventing?

Another group of people who are also unfortunately victimized by our society are those who have a prison record. After they have spent years of their life in prison, paying their debt to society, they look forward to getting back out in society. They plan to get a job so they can once again support their family. Unfortunately, when they go out to look for a job, again and again they hear those devastating words, “I’m sorry but we can’t give you a job here because you have a prison record.”

Often people are falsely accused of something they didn’t do. They are arrested and incarcerated. They often have to sit in jail for months before they are given a hearing or trial to determine whether they are guilty or innocent. After all that time, they may be declared “not guilty.” They aren’t remunerated in any way for all they have suffered. What’s worse, they are penalized by society because they have a prison record.

It may be that even those who are guilty have repented of their wrong doing and have asked God to forgive them. They may have spent years reading their Bible and their life has been transformed by the power of God. They have paid their debt to society. Still, when they are released, they are penalized by society because they have a prison record.

When I work with Christians in prison, when I hear that they are about to be released, I urge them to get into a good church as soon as they can. I sometimes fear that when they appear in a church for the first time, when the church hears that they have a prison record they may say to them, “We don’t want you here because you have a prison record.” How sad! They need the fellowship of Christians to help them grow. The Christians in the church may be able to encourage their employer to give them a job even though they have a prison record.

We as Christians need to be compassionate. If people have been forgiven by God, why shouldn’t we forgive them also? People need to be given a second chance. We need to help them be restored to society.

What would you say is the lesser of two evils, divorce or murder? I think most people would say it is divorce. Have you ever stopped to realize that God used Moses to deliver his people from bondage in Egypt? He also wrote the first five books of the Bible. Have you forgotten that he murdered a man in his youth? Exodous 2:11-12 says that he murdered a man. “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” God gave him a second chance. Shouldn’t we do likewise?

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