REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on April 7, 2015. Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Playing the Victim Card”
1 Samuel 22:6-8
Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side. 7 He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8 Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.”
My two boys will get into a little tiff and eventually one of them (usually the younger) will come running to me making a case about how he had been victimized by his brother: “Dad, he took the controller away from me, and he’s not sharing!” Of course, then his older brother will have to plead his own case that he first had been wronged: “Dad, he’s been playing already for a long time, and I didn’t even get a turn.” Back and forth the arguments will be made, hoping that I would be persuaded to take the side of the ultimate victim.
I can probably make the case that being born as sinful creatures, we are all prone to playing the victim card; this is where we use attention seeking strategies to either cope, or even worse, manipulate others for our benefit. Both Adam and Eve tried to blame others rather than admit their disobedience, claiming that they had been victimized.
In this passage, King Saul concludes his tirade by playing the ultimate victim card. He makes accusations that “all have conspired against me,” and that “none of you is concerned about me.” Saul discloses that even his own son has taken the side of David—perhaps trying to manipulate his men to take his side. It would seem that while Saul still remained seated on the throne, his kingdom was slipping from his very own fingers. He needed to convince others that he was still a legitimate king and that the real perpetrator was David, while he was the victim.
Do you sometimes find yourself playing the victim card? Perhaps it’s about your spouse, your boss, your small group leader, or your pastor. (Of course, if a perpetrator has indeed hurt you by abusing one’s authority or power, then the Lord desires to heal you.) Do you sometimes react to situations and find yourself resorting to the same strategies employed here by Saul in the secret hopes of manipulation? If so, ask the Lord to reveal the truth of your circumstances. Ask the Lord to reveal what’s really going on in your heart.
Prayer: Dear Lord, it is easy to complain about others and claim that I have been wronged. I can try to make a case that I have been overlooked, abandoned, and unloved. But Lord, I know that you have not overlooked me. I know that you have not abandoned me and that nothing will separate me from Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 40
Lunch Break Study
Read Romans 8:31-39 (NIV): What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Questions to Consider
- How does Paul convince the church in Rome that God loves them and is for them?
- What is Paul referring to when he writes, “in all these things” in verse 37?
- Rather than feeling victimized by trouble and hardship, how is Paul convinced that he is more than a conqueror?
- Paul reminds them that God did not spare his own Son, but gave His very own Son for us all.
- Paul is talking about all of the “trouble and hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword” mentioned in verse 35.
- Though there’s persecution and murder of Christians, Paul says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” What I think this means is that a conqueror has his enemies lying, subdued at his feet—enemies such as distress, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, and persecution. But if we are “more than conquerors,” it means that they’re not just at our feet, but they are serving us. They’re not just in chains in prison; rather, they are serving us. Our persecution, famine, nakedness, loss—as painful and as tearful as they are—are our servants, for God works them all together for our good (John Piper).
Have you been feeling victimized due to difficult circumstances? Have you found yourself complaining and feeling hopeless? Spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to readjust your perspective on those matters. Make plans to meet with a trusted person who can both listen to you but also provide you with a truthful perspective on these matters.