“Then she told him this story” (Genesis 39:17).
It is important to know what kind of stories we tell. Potiphar’s wife had attempted to seduce the young man Joseph. When she failed to do so; she cooked up a story.
Now Joseph had tried hard to avoid her presence; but she tried to grab him while he was attending to his duties. But Joseph left the cloak she had grabbed and ran out of the house. This is what really happened. And it reminds us that the best way to overcome temptation is to run out of its way at the very first sign of danger.
But then when she knew that her sinful attitude would be exposed; she used her power as the mistress of the house to show Joseph as making sinful advances to her. She first told this story to her household servants so that they will support her when she would later tell the same story to her husband.
How often do we act like this? We sin and then put the blame on others. And we cook up a story to make us look innocent and a victim. Many writers have termed this kind of story-telling as telling a “victim story.”
The more we say victim stories, the more hard it gets for us to be honest with God. The more we say victim stories, more we come to believe the lie we started telling and soon we think the lie is the truth. And then it becomes self-righteousness; the attitude that “I am right and others are wrong.” All these attitudes are sinful and they build a wall between you and God.
So today ask yourself about the stories you have said to whitewash your sins. It is possible that others believed your version of the story and you had escaped. Maybe others suffered for your sins. But will you escape the all-seeing eyes of God to whom we must give account one day?
Therefore make a new start today. Make a decision that you will not go about saying victim stories. If you sin, own it. Be honest with God. The more you try to cover up evil, the greater will be the volcanic eruption that will come later. David tried to cover up his sins of adultery and murder. Finally, he got relief from his burden of sin, only when he confessed, “I have sinned against the LORD.” [Read also Psalm 32 and 51]
Victim stories, when repeatedly told, become part of a man’s personality.Other people will try to avoid you when you go around with a martyr complex as if everybody is against you and you are the victim of your circumstances. More than that the danger is that you are believing a lie. It plainly comes from the devil who wants you to live in despair.
But God’s intention is to give you “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3). It is for you to choose—whether to live in despair as a teller of victim stories or to live in freedom and in a spirit of praise!