Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer... Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them… Live in harmony with one another… Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:12-18).
We live in an age of widespread victimhood. There exists a vast contingent within our populace decrying their own victimization at the hands of others, even others who themselves feel victimized. There are dozens and dozens of -phobias according to which well-meaning citizens can be accused of bigotry. Many of us whisper when we speak, or choose to remain silent, lest an errant word destroy our credibility or social standing. Even the privileged classes are “victimized” by "reverse discrimination," and many Christians are gearing up for their imminent persecution.
This degenerative cultural moment is further marred by ideological trench warfare. The public square has become a no man’s land. We remove all dissenters from the trench. We surround ourselves with voices that confirm our biases. We reduce all complexity. We prolong a barrage of words, because to cease firing is to surrender our human dignity. If you question Trench A, you belong in Trench B. If you question Trench B, you belong in Trench A. There is no Trench C.
Life together has become stagnate and exhausting.
But there is a better way. It’s admittedly not the most attractive option, but it’s revolutionary nonetheless. It’s a counterintuitive form of political action. It’s the way of humility, the way of the cross.
True and lasting peace and harmony will not be achieved so long as we unforgivingly critique and deconstruct every fiber with which our common lives are held together. Victimhood cannot be all that we have in common. Like the nation of Israel in Numbers 21, we must learn to cast our corporate gaze upon a higher and truer object. Christians have that higher and truer Object. He was lifted up to vaccinate our venoms. He was victimized to put an end to victimhood. And because of Him, whatever our lot in this life, we are royalty.
In a letter to Pope Leo X, Martin Luther wrote about the liberty we have in Christ, who makes us kings and priests and “lords of all things.” In light of all these gospel blessings, Luther asks, "Who can injure such a heart, or make it afraid?” Think about that.
For the sake of our society, Christians must break the downward spiral of victimhood. We are not victims. We are the redeemed. We share an eternal, unshakable, objective, and true foundation for societal peace and harmony. We can stand side-by-side, on common ground, out in the open, away from the trenches. In union with our Savior, we can suffer the barrage of words and pray to God for the forgiveness of those who know not what they say. On the other side of that sacrificial leap of faith, harmony will be our resurrection reality.