This podcast covers Lesson 11 of Healthy Living Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
Defeat the Victim Infection
A Situation that Incubates the Victim Infection
- Onesimus had stolen some money from his master and run away. Being led by the Spirit to Paul, the runaway slave heard the gospel and trusted Christ to take away his sins. Paul became his spiritual father, teaching him and loving him as a son.
- Onesimus should return to Philemon his owner and seek forgiveness for stealing the money and for running away. Both men were now Christians.
- Sending Onesimus back to Philemon was the right thing to do. Would the Victim infection overrule the teaching of Christ to forgive and reconcile?
The Victim Infection Puts Self over Christ
- When you continually see yourself as a victim of other people’s actions or what you think are unfair situations, then you are basically taking over the sovereignty of your life from Jesus Christ as your Lord.
- The victim sees only what is in front of her face not the eternal value. Symptoms of this infection are anger, despair, and self-pity.
- We as Christians can look at a violent incident and say to the victim, "That was gross, black, terrible, straight from the pits of hell and those people are responsible for what they did. But God is bigger and greater. And if you will trust Him, then one day, whether in this life or the next, you will see how He fulfilled that promise to work that bad thing into something good. You choose what to do in the meantime. You can respond by faith now when things aren't ideal, or you can keep being the victim.”
- If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is Lord over all, then we must believe that He allows some things in our lives that will draw us to trust Him more as the
Jesus Christ Renews Our Hearts to Forgive and Reconcile
“Renew my heart. We know that Christ is the one who really renews it (NIRV).” Philemon 20
- Jesus Christ renews hearts. To renew means to make something like new again. That involves repairing something broken so that it works well again. That can certainly apply to relationships.
- God’s motivation to repair the broken relationship between us and Him was love. God demonstrated His love for us when Christ died for us so that we could be reconciled to Him. When you trust in Jesus Christ, your relationship is renewed. It is no longer broken.
- Through renewed hearts and the shared experience of being Christian brothers, the relationship between Philemon and Onesimus could be restored. But, only they could do that with one another and avoid the Victim infection.
- Paul didn’t order Philemon to forgive Onesimus. Instead, Paul made him think about it and appealed to him on the basis of love.
- Paul calls Jesus Lord 5 times in this short letter. Jesus is not only Paul’s Lord but also Philemon’s Lord. Lord means master. Philemon has received grace from his master Jesus. A renewed heart is grateful for that forgiveness and grace received. Philemon should, therefore, be a “grace giver” to Onesimus.
Christ calls us to be grace givers to others as we have received grace from Him.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:12-15)
- Let Jesus Christ be Lord in your life. Ask Him to help you live that kind of life that pleases Him and displays to a watching world that Jesus has renewed your heart. He has forgiven you completely and fills your heart with joy. Jesus gives us His grace so that we can then give grace to others, following His own example.
- A grace-giver does not hold grudges and works at renewing relationships rather than being continually angry with someone. A grace-giver recognizes and submits to the one true master in your life—the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask your Lord Jesus to help you be a grace-giver to your friends, family members, and anyone else who has wounded you. That’s how you defeat the Victim infection.
A spiritual infection takes you captive to something other than Christ. The Victim infection will make you very sick. Knowing the truth of God’s grace that you have in Jesus Christ gives you an immune system that defeats this spiritual infection.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart needs with His truth and His love so you can get well and stay well.
Joyful Walk Bible Studies by Melanie Newton are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.