I have a confession to make, I could watch videos of cute animals all day long. It’s not just cute animal stories that get me though, it’s the stories of abused and neglected animals who find a new life. I don’t just want to see the resuce either I want to see the transformation. I want to see the cowering dog romping around someone’s yard. I want to see the starved kitten basking in the sun, purring as someone gently strokes her fur. There is something that tugs at my heart strings when an animal gets a new life.
To be completely honest, it’s what’s at the heart of the story that gets me and probably you as well. That little dog cowering in the corner wasn’t meant to live a life being victimized. That little puppy with its sad eyes makes my heart hurt. I want to scoop up each of these little animals and show them a different life.
The videos wouldn’t be nearly as captivating if they ended at the rescue because we know there is still work to be done. This pathetic heap has been victimized and is still living as a victim when she is rescued. This fur baby knows no other way to relate to the world. I want to see the life breathed back into that little mess. I want to see a renewal of its spirit.
Time and again we get to witness this ending. We get to see innocence, trust, and love restored and realized. This is what makes our hearts flutter.
This is also God’s plan for all those who have been victimized by life, restoration and renewal. Long after victimization ends we can continue to live as victims, partly because we know no other way and partly because it is what we know.
I can say with conviction that staying in a victim mentality is a choice that you can work to change. I know because I’ve been victimized in life, deeply and profoundly. I don’t need to identify with you on the type of victimization to understand a victim mentality.
For a long time the only way I related to the world was through seeking attention for the hurts that led me to become a huddled mess. I couldn’t trust and resisted love. The worst problem with living as a victim is the continued victimization I experienced and attributed to being deserving of because I didn’t know how to stop the cycle. It affirmed my status as a victim.
The Lord extends His hand lovingly and gently to walk us from huddled mess into bounding through life. Often we take His hand understanding He loves us, but just as the scared puppy continues to act like a victim we do too, not knowing how to move toward the love and security He offers. It isn’t over night and it isn’t easy. There will be times when being the huddled mess will seem easier and safer, but it’s not living the life God intended for each of us, the life we each deserve.
No one stops to wonder how the dog ended up being a victim, no one blames the dog for her condition. God’s love offers us healing, peace, and rest without wondering if He will place blame on any of us for our condition. He wants to take you from your bandage of living as a victim toward freedom.
For those who cheer on the victims in life and want them to live, follow the model of Christ. Love, forgive, and seek to understand, but don’t enable. Point the victim to Christ. There is no substitute for healthy living with the Lord. No person can be the bridge for another to access the Lord. He needs each person to come straight to Him.
None of the videos show people helping an animal by letting them try to thrive in their pain and helplessness. Video after video shows humans compassionately loving and encouraging, pushing the destitute to move forward. We have got to love each other like this as well.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4:18