Things get slippery when I only see sin as something “they” do to me (and us).
This perspective frames me as a victim, not a sinner.
According to the ego, being a victim is far safer than being a sinner. When I’m a sinner, my ego has to die and a new creation has to resurrect in its place. This is the path of the sinner: the path of the cross that leads to death and new life. From a perspective of grace, this isn’t punishment (that’s the ego talking), it’s a process of renewal. In this new creation, life is seen as a gift, not a reward for endured victimhood.
It’s a restorative and cleansing process, albeit a messy one. The thought of being a sinner is a direct threat to the ego because it means the ego has to die.
For the ego, it’s nice and comfy being a victim because it’s “they” who have to change, not me. And the only reason “they’re” not changing is because “they” don’t want to.
This places the decision on the individual. The only people in that room are my individual victim-self and “their” individual victimizer-self. It’s a battle of individual wills with no creative/restorative God in sight.
As a victim, I don’t need repentance (metanoia: a change of mind/heart). I need affirmation and validation. The gospel becomes therapeutic rather than evangelical. It strokes my ego instead of lighting fire to it so a new creation can be born in its place.
In our world, we have victimizers and victims, indeed. But I’d say that the boldest victimizers see themselves as victims in order to justify what they do. I think only a minute part of the population sees themselves as actual victimizers.
So, to all victims, including me: Let’s all proclaim our truthful place as sinners. May God help us repent (turn away) from our ways and allow our small selves to die so that we may consciously (not just ontologically) be raised in Christ.
And may we see every breath,
with these earth-bound feet
as a gift-
and fully accepted.
Grace + Godspeed,