Victims

Published on Mar 19th, 2014 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Victims

Victims

Remember the old story about the boy and the wolf?  The boy falsely cried wolf so many times that when the wolf did come no one believed the boy’s cries?  For many years, way too many people cried “victim” when, in reality, this was nothing more than an excuse to manipulate people, get their way, or keep from facing some of life’s difficult circumstances.  It took the church longer than society to catch on to the truth that the best thing for these people was to confront them about too easily claiming to be a victim.  In fact, it may have been rappers who first started to publicly speak out and exhort people to stop playing the victim and step up and face life. The church, maybe due to a compassionate heart, lagged behind confronting those who claimed to be victims but who were really struggling in other areas of obedience and life. But like the people who got tired of the boy who cried wolf, we need to be careful that we do not miss those who are truly victims and crying out to us for help.  The Bible does speak to those who are truly victims. 

Psalm 10 is a very encouraging Psalm for those who have been or are victims of evil people.  It begins with the cry that many victims feel, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”  When the wicked are allowed to sin against people, these become legitimate questions.  Why does God not step in right away?  Why does he allow wicked men to abuse children?  Why does he allow the unscrupulous to prey on those who trust so easily? When those evil men use their power at work to walk all over those below them, why do they always seem to get promoted?  The Psalmist spends much of the Psalm describing the wicked.  I would encourage you to take the time to read it.  There is something comforting about seeing your situation spelled out so clearly in the Bible.  It is as if God is shouting that he understands and knows.

The Psalmist does not answer why there is a delay in the Lord’s help but he does conclude that the Lord does help.  It is interesting that in verse 13 he quotes the wicked as almost saying the same thing as he said in verse 1 but he does not let the wicked get away with saying it.  He quickly answers in verse 14 that God not only sees the evil but he is keeping an account, he will help, and he has helped many in the past.  From this little exchange we see that the Psalmist knew in his heart that God does hear and see.  He knew that God will help.  The Psalmist wasn’t asking why God does not help…he was asking about the patience of God with the wicked and the delay in deliverance.  Truth be told, he was crying out to the correct source for help and simply asking for it to come quickly.  I have and will, in the future, do the same thing.

It is as we understand this difference that we can better help those who are suffering at the hands of the wicked.  If we can help them in their situation then we must do so.  But if we are unable and we find them questioning God as to where he is at, we should not be so quick to judge them for not trusting God.  They may very well be trusting God, knowing that he is the great deliverer, but may be struggling with the timing of the deliverance.  I believe that understanding this little difference will keep us from being hard hearted toward those in pain.  We always want to help people by solving their problems.  When we are unable to provide a solution, we often simply tell them that the answer is to walk by faith and to trust God.  There is wisdom and truth in that advice.  If people are unable or unwilling to do that then we sometimes use that to justify our walking away from them. After all, there is nothing left to do.  But what if they are trusting God but the delay is painful and hard to understand?  What if they are not sinning in asking God where he is at?  What if they are just being human? Shouldn’t our response be to walk with them?  To wonder with them?  To recognize the injustice and evil and cry out with them to the only true deliverer?

In the last verses the Psalmist declared some truths that will help those who are waiting.  He is the King.  He will conquer all evil (we have the privilege of knowing the cross and the victory won there).  God hears us and knows what we desire.  He will strengthen our hearts.  His hearing will result in action and he will, one day, set all things right.  He will put an end to evil.  These truths are the truths that we can share with those who are suffering.  But we should not allow them to suffer alone.  Stand with them.  Sit with them.  Cry out with them for deliverance.  Yes, there are many who cry wolf and need a kick in the pants more than a shoulder to cry on but there are also true victims that need our help.  To help is to be like God, who recognizes victims and promises deliverance.

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