Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Don't Be Such a Martyr

Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:6-8, NLT

People say some pretty ridiculous and hurtful things to us when we are raising medically complex children. Among the more demeaning things I have been called is "Martyr Barb." A hostile neighbor took to calling me this when she could no longer stand the demands on my life by my high-needs children. I also made her uncomfortable by simply embracing my faith. Unable to empathize or show compassion, she couldn't perceive how my life could possibly be as difficult and sacrificial as it appeared to be. Therefore, I just needed to quit being such a martyr or drama queen in her eyes. 

I used to be really wounded and offended by being told, "Don't be such a martyr." It already felt awkward being very different from the average family. And when wave after wave of difficulty hit our family, it was almost embarrassing to tell others of the latest trouble. It had me questioning myself. Am I being overly dramatic? 

Then I had an epiphany...
God is a martyr!

via Merriam-Webster.com

Why wouldn't I want to look just like God? After all, Paul instructs us in Ephesians 5:1-2,

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (NASB)

Read the Merriam-Webster definitions of a martyr. I am especially taken by the second definition, ": a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle." Does that not perfectly describe what we parents do for the children we love? We make an intentional sacrifice of our own personal time, our wealth, friendships, hobbies, so very much sleep, and even dreams to invest in the well-being of our struggling children. Our undying principle is that we can make a positive difference in the future of our sons and daughters. We learn and advocate all to provide the best possible outcomes for those we love. What a noble pursuit!

Unfortunately, the world too often views us at Merriam-Websters third definition of martyr, ": VICTIM; especially: a great or constant sufferer." That we are NOT. My family may undergo quite a bit but we also overcome that much more. We are no victims. In Christ, we have learned to live above our circumstances. His example taught us what sacrificial love looks like. We attempt to be single-minded and have an eternal perspective.

So let the mockers mock. If I am going to be called a martyr, I will wear it like a badge of courage, embracing God's standard of martyrdom and not the world's. There will never be a shred of regret for the sacrificial life I have lived for my children.

Pray with me...

Lord, when we are demeaned by the world for the sacrificial life we live, remind us that You are our model for such a life. May we not walk in the self-pity of victimhood, but be empowered by knowing we are standing strong in principle. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this perspective and giving legitimacy to my sentiments.