Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | March 3, 2008

Yup, Sure…Blame the Victim!

John 9:1-38

Jesus’ “showdown” in this Gospel reading really highlights a problem common among the religious establishment of His day, and our own.  There’s a common “blame the victim mentality” in some faiths. The blind man that Jesus cured was most likely blind by no fault of his own.  Yet, some were willing to believe that either he or his parents must have sinned, and the blindness was the result of that sin.

This is unfortunately seen all too often in the Church.  A woman dies of advanced cancer and it’s assumed her prayers went “unanswered” because she sought medical treatment and didn’t have enough faith.  A long-unemployed man is told he needs to stop looking for a job and just hope for someone to provide financial relief.  Outside of Christianity, a growing belief system hints that our reality is created by our thoughts, so if we have bad thoughts, bad things happen.  In recent history, the memory of Holocaust victims is smeared by some who claim they “got what they deserved for rejecting Christ”.

What is it in our human nature that makes us so quick to blame others for their misfortunes? I honestly think it’s because we have a natural tendency to hold everything up to ours, rather than God’s, standards.  His expectations of us are just; our expectations usually aren’t.

It’s God’s nature to be merciful.  He never allows us to go through needless suffering. A lot of the trials we face are for our good and to reveal God’s work.  Perhaps it wasn’t God’s will for the woman with cancer to be healed this side of heaven.  Maybe a door has yet to be opened for the unemployed man.  The Holocaust was an example of man’s hatred (on the part of the Nazis) and indifference (those who could have done something but chose not to).

The next time we encounter someone going through a trial, perhaps we should give thanks for the redemptive work that God has planned for them, and find out how we can demonstrate Christ’s love to them.

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