Everyone is a victim of something. There seems to be no shortage of stories in this country of people complaining of the injustices done to them by society. It really doesn’t matter the color of your skin, your gender or your economic status. Everyone seems to be a victim and they are suffering from either discrimination, abuse or an injustice that they just cannot let go.
The other day, I was watching a television documentary on an American, World War II soldier who was a prisoner of war in a Nazi Concentration Camp. I didn’t even realize that our own soldiers were put in concentration camps. This man was old and feeble now but was telling his story of how he was tortured and starved as a young soldier in Nazi, Germany during the war. The documentary showed footage of the man with his two sons revisiting the former camp area and his memories wore pouring in and they were heartbreaking to hear. His own sons were holding back tears as he told his horrific story. What was intriguing to me was that this was the first time his sons heard his story. They knew he was a POW but he never talked about his experience. He shared his story to his family when he arrived home from the war but then never talked about it again. He said, (I am paraphrasing from memory) “It was the past and it was awful but I had a whole life to live.”
His words brought tears to my eyes. I started to think about my own selfish claims of injustice and I realized how so often I fall into the trap of victimization. It seems to be a disease we have in this country. Now please understand abuse and injustice are very real and it is very damaging to a person. It is important to get the proper help from the pain of abuse. However, there is a point that once we get the help we need there is a time to let it go and move on and not wear the victim badge. If we don’t, it becomes a weed that spreads in our heart and it is destructive.
I get upset at our society that perpetuates this sense of victimization. We seem to be a spoiled and entitled society that really has no understanding of what injustice means. That POW was tortured, left for dead through starvation and yet was able to come home and live his life and grow beyond his victimization. That is maturity and that is also faith. It is moving beyond the hurt and realizing it is time to stop living in the past and let yourself GROW into the future. When I hear of stories of people who want to continue this age of pity and victimization, I will now think of that POW and remember to tell myself and to teach my children that being a victim is a choice. Growing beyond it is a person’s limitless future!