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Some people enjoy looking at themselves as victims.

These people consider themselves helpless, useless, and unlovable people who are always the innocent victims of unscrupulous and thoughtless fellow humans. They dig for sympathy, and they consider the pity of others as treasures to keep and relish. And when they do not get it, they clam up and resort to even greater isolation, into a sickness called paralysis due to self-pity.

Do you remember how the apostles expressed disappointment and frustration with the shameful death of Jesus? Can you not also identify with Thomas, who chose to cut himself from the group because he was hurting too much?

Do you remember the evil man possessed by a legion of evil spirits living in the cemetery because his loved ones had long considered him hopeless and dead? Can you not see yourself in him–left alone, suffering alone, misunderstood, forsaken, betrayed, considered hopeless, or a victim?

And, of course, who can forget the finance manager of the apostles, who, after conniving with the enemies of His Lord, also fell into self-pity, despair, and eventual suicide?

Can we not see ourselves in him when we think our sins are beyond forgiveness? Our sins are repetitious, and we start to think that we are beyond hope. Victims of our foolishness!

But if some people enjoy seeing themselves as victims, why join them in their self-pity and paralyzing fears? Do we want to be paralyzed like them? Do we want to be dead like them? Do we want to be just a victim and suffer needlessly, meaninglessly, and uselessly?

You need not be. You should not be. You are called to be a hero; you are called to be a leader.

Jesus was a victim, but he chose to turn the table around and be our savior. He did not allow Himself to be a victim of arrogance. He decided to forgive. He won over human pride. He did not let Himself be a victim of sin. He shattered the enemy and gave us life. He did not allow Himself to be a slave or victim of his schedule and the crowd pressing around Him. He served them. He did not allow His enemies to make Him their victim. He loved them and destroyed them and made them His friends.

We need a nation, not of willing, self-pitying victims. We need a nation of happy and enthusiastic heroes and leaders. We are called to be victims neither of authoritarians nor of terrorists. Let us not allow money and greed and power hunger to run our lives. Let us be leaders and heroes of righteousness, selflessness, and generosity.

The current threat to the nation is not military rule or foreign terrorists. The threat to the country is not so much graft and greed and guns. The nation is being eaten up by discouragement. More and more of us are becoming tired and discouraged, lost and confused, afraid and paralyzed. I am afraid that more and more of us have discovered the tempting appeal of soap operas and tear-jerkers during our free time. There is nothing wrong with liking them. But we must also remember the lives of our heroes and leaders. We are called to be like them.

Can we still make it to progress? Can we still make it to the year 2000? We might not even make it to the year 1998? Can we still assert our rights and ensure our freedoms are respected? Do we still have the energy? It is a pity that more and more of our countrymen are becoming disillusioned and frustrated, who have accepted their self-given destiny of victimhood and have started to give up on fighting to the last and staying on the watch.

Be a hero. Be a leader.

Jesus Our Light

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