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  • Writer's pictureRusty McKie

Storied-People in Apocalyptic Times

People love stories.

My kids beg me every night to read "one more" before bed. Beyond their supernatural ability to delay bedtime, they also have an insatiable appetite for stories.

Adults crave more too. Binging shows is practically a universal pastime.

We are storied-people who inevitably view ourselves in terms of a grander narrative. And the stranger-than-fiction reality we've lived in the past couple of years has led many to talk about current events in apocalyptic terms.

When life confuses us, we interpret events like we're part of a story to make sense of it all. Knowing we are storied-people helps us navigate trying times. More crucial is understanding what role we think we're playing.

Every morning, we wake up and most naturally believe we are either heroes or victims. A Christians' reality is more shocking — we are children of a loving, good Father (Matthew 7:9-11; John 1:12-13).

The Victim Story

A victim culture damages society by taking attention away from the genuinely victimized among us and by condoning blame-shifting as acceptable behavior.

If we blame God and others like Adam and Eve before us (Genesis 3:12-13), then we postpone our ability to repent of sin and return to Christ (Mark 1:14). Playing the victim leads to a depressing, anti-gospel story of self-condemnation and self-deception (Romans 8:1).

Victims need biblical self-evaluation. God's word calls us to be honest with ourselves.

We are to:

  • Examine ourselves before pointing out others' sins (Matthew 7:3-5).

  • Examine ourselves before taking communion (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).

  • Examine all our ways in light of God's sovereignty (Lamentations 3:37-40).

  • Examine the consequences of our foolish ways (Job 13:23; Luke 15:17-19).

  • Examine our work rather than comparing it to others (Galatians 6:4), and even

  • Examine our salvation (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Only honest self-evaluation can pry our eyes open from a victim mentality to help us live into a different story.

The Hero Story

Playing the hero feels good momentarily. People look to us, trusting we'll take care of them. The problem with playing the savior is people expect us to keep saving them in ever-increasing ways.

While the victim gives away personal responsibility, the hero takes upon their shoulders burdens they were never meant to carry.

In this story, discouragement piles up as our supply can't keep up with demand. To keep playing the role, we often ignore our sins, limits, and weaknesses. We self-deceive like a 1st century Pharisee working our fingers to the bone.

Self-deception quickly turns to self-righteousness (Luke 18:11), which ends in self-destruction (Romans 2:1-5). In trying to save others, heroes lose themselves by disconnecting from the reality of their neediness.

Heroes need biblical confession. The Bible tells us to confess our sins to God for forgiveness and to each other for healing (1 John 1:9; James 5:16).

Also, confessing our limits and weaknesses helps reorient us to the truth. Paul boasted in his weakness to exalt Christ as the hero of his story (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

Only through honest confession can we put off the hero-role to receive a new and better one (Philippians 3:1-11).

Join me next week to hear about your true identity, as well as a practice to help you re-story yourself in the gospel.


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