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How Is a Victim to Respond

Dr. David Thiessen is an educator, writer, pastor, and speaker. His books can be found at theoarch & other articles at theologyarchaeology

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The subject matter came to use one day while we were thinking about the supposed victim impact statement made by Ms. Lori Thompson. In today’s world, the trend, even for Christians, is to act and respond to alleged and actual offenses in a secular manner.

Most people would understand their response after all the lives of the victim have been ruined in some way and secular justice is seen as a form of payback and not a means to bring the offender to repentance.

That concept seems to be the popular one as it seems that no one wants the offender to repent and partake in the benefits of life or what God offers. Before writing this piece we looked up Lori Ann Thompson to get a little concrete evidence before saying anything.

First, we were surprised to find out that she has her own website. Its organization is a little weird and there is no about page or explanation why she is writing a lot on abuse.

Second, we were mystified as to why she used a picture of her and her husband smiling behind the title of her victim impact statement. She uses a lot of photos behind her stories and of all the ones she picked for her victim impact post this was the least appropriate.

It makes one wonder if she is telling the truth or not. As we have commented and analyzed the different aspects of this situation, we have seen another surprising set of actions and not just on the part of Ms. Thompson.

There is very little actual biblical behavior being displayed on most sides of this issue, especially on the part of the alleged victims. We have little sympathy for Ms. Thompson and one of the reasons for this is found in the following quote:

The primary accusation involves a lawsuit regarding a woman who emailed Zacharias nude photos. Zacharias said he had maintained a friendly online correspondence with the woman over a number of months, and that he attempted to end the relationship when her language became first romantic, then sexually explicit…

If the communication was so bad, why didn’t she simply change her phone number and end the conversation? This little bit of forgetfulness tells us that she is not as she claims and carrying on the communication because he was a ‘spiritual father’ is not biblical either.

Then there is this bit of action, which has been reported in other sources as well:

The woman Zacharias had been emailing and her husband sent him a letter through their attorney demanding $5 million in exchange for keeping the correspondence a secret(same source as above)

This is not biblical either but then we do not find that the victim impact statement to be biblical or even a part of justice. When Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan it focused more on the actions of the people who viewed the person who was attacked.

You will notice that Jesus does not mention anything about the response of the victim. If Jesus wanted his followers to write victim impact statements, and do other unjust and secular activities in response to actual and alleged crimes, we are sure he would have included that in the story.

But such responses are contrary to what the Bible does say about treating others, even when one is an actual or alleged victim. When you read those verses, you will notice one important detail that is missing.

There are no escape clauses for victims. The Bible does not say ‘return good for evil… except if you are a victim.’ The victim is to return good for the evil they have received.

That does not mean justice is not done, but the pursuit and implementation of any penalty must meet God’s definition of justice and help lead the offender to repentance.

Then, the Bible does not say, ‘do unto others as you would like to be treated…except if you are a victim.’ We are sure that Ms. Thompson and others who support her would not like to be treated in the manner that Mr. Zacharias has been treated when they sin.

Paul tells us in Colossians, ‘not to lie one to another’. He did not say ‘do not lie one to another except if you are a victim.’ Then Paul tells everyone in 1 Cor. 13, the following:

5 It does not act disgracefully, it does not seek its own benefit; it is not provoked, does not keep an account of a wrong suffered, 6 it does not rejoice in unrighteousness,

If one claims to love God, they will act according to God’s instructions without interpreting the biblical verses to justify their disobedience to them. They will apply those verses honestly to their lives, words and behavior.

Notice again, that the whole chapter does not mention even one time those dreaded words ‘except if you are a victim.’ What is being said is that as a victim there is no permission to sin against the offender. The response is supposed to be an honest biblical one that brings glory to God.

Yet, too many people forget God’s instructions and act like they want because they consider themselves to be a victim and they ‘have the right’ to act as they please in response to those actual or alleged crimes.

God has set the rules for responses to actual and alleged crimes and one of those rules is the act of forgiveness which many participants in the Mr. Zacharias issue have not done.

Mr. Zacharias is to be forgiven, just like any offender is to be forgiven and this includes those offenders who commit rape, pedophilia acts, and so on. We have heard far too many women in the news state that they ‘will never forgive…’

That is not a biblical response and it certainly deprives God of glory. It also deprives the victim of having their sins forgiven. Plus, it deprives the unbelieving world of seeing God care and how his justice works.

The victim’s response should be one that honestly and correctly follows biblical instruction. There is a difference between judging, presenting an observation, identifying what is wrong, and describing the actions of others.

Unfortunately, too many people are too lazy to learn those differences and apply them properly to any given situation. The act of forgiveness will help clear the beams out of the victims’ eyes as well as all other participant’s eyes.

When they see clearly, then maybe God’s justice can be done.

© 2021 David Thiessen

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