In chapter 17, Jeremiah spoke of the sins of Judah. God had plans to give their wealth as spoil and would cause them to serve their enemies. “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5). Jeremiah said anyone who trusted in man would be like a shrub in the desert, who would not see any goodness. The alternative was to trust God, and be blessed like trees planted by the water. They send down roots in the stream and do not fear when there is drought or heat. The person who trusts in God is always fruitful and their leaves are ever green.
Jeremiah said that the heart is desperately sick and deceitful. “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10). God compared a person who gathered wealth, which they did not earn as a bird gathering a brood that she did not hatch. Wealth gained through unjust means would not remain with the dishonest person. Jeremiah lamented for God to heal his people so that they could be saved. He asked God to be his refuge in the day of disaster. God would put to shame all who persecuted him and bring them destruction.
The essence of what Jeremiah was saying, is the need to rely on God first and not to look to other people for our salvation. God is the only one who can save us and although he uses people as destiny helpers, they are not the source. Sometimes we can knowingly or unknowingly put other people in the place of God. Whenever we start to look to other people to provide for us or to rescue us, we are making them out to be god. When we truly believe that God is able to meet our needs, we don’t need to manipulate others to provide for us.
Unresolved trauma can leave us in a position of victimhood. Sometimes people have been wrongly victimised through abuse or neglect. This is a sad reality which results from toxic relationships. Being victimised does not mean that a person needs to remain a lifetime victim. A victim mentality prevents people from taking responsibility for their choices and the resulting consequences. It is easy to sit around, feeling sorry for yourself and wishing for someone to come and rescue you. God alone is our salvation and we look to him first for provision, sustenance and to meet all of our needs.
God is able to heal the mind and emotions and we can unlearn unhealthy relationship patterns. We learn dysfunctional patterns from early childhood and negative parenting styles, create maladaptive behaviours. The good news is that helps is readily available. Many unhealthy behaviours can be corrected through counselling and therapy. There is empathy for anyone who has or continue to experience abuse. Healing is also possible when we seek support and guidance. We can overcome unhealthy coping strategies and replace these with healthy and wholesome habits. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).