My husband and I had a conversation today. The essence of what we were discussing could boil down to the question of how much in someone's behavior can be or should be excused due to their past (abuse, neglect, addiction, etc.).
A few years ago I was helping mentor a young lady who was dealing with some dark things in her life. I remember telling her that some of the thoughts she's struggling with may never go away. I kept pressing her to tell me what she was going to do when those thoughts came again. She felt that as long as those thoughts were still coming - she could not have complete victory.
You and I are daily dealing with hurt people. Some of them have been through things neither you nor I can even imagine. But they don't all act the same, do they? Some have moved on, using their experience to bring healing to others (sure enough, they still got their monsters poking on them from time to time, but they don't use this as an excuse to be a jerk). Such people are a joy to be around. Others are holding on to their hurt so tightly that it penetrates their entire being, makes them focus on gaining acceptance rather than giving it.
The VICTIM mentality is weeping on the inside, "This is what had been done to me. This is why I am the way I am. This is why I react the way I react. This is why I can't trust. This is why I can't be vulnerable." Victims have a very hard time extending grace to anyone who (in their eyes) struggles less than they do.
And then there are VICTORS. Those who rise above their pain. Those who shout from the rooftops, "This is what had been done to me. But I am the way I am because I have received healing from the hand of the Almighty. And there is no pain He can't redeem."
I think where we had got it wrong is in telling people that when God redeems our pain - all will be well and all will go away. I am not so sure this is true. There is no way to undo what had been done. Only to redeem it. Only to flood those memories of the past with grace and forgiveness. And it is through grace and forgiveness when true freedom is found.
I am not here to bash those who are still struggling with victim mentality for I had also been one of those (and still feel tempted to be at times). I am writing this post to encourage you to become a victor rather than a victim - for it is truly possible.
So before the year runs out - ask yourself, "Am I a victor or a victim?"
Be willing to be honest with yourself.
And if there is a single New Year's resolution that you should make - it should be to overcome your painful past :)
I believe you can.