What We All Have in Common with Serial Killers

June 22, 2012

If you’ve ever watched Criminal Minds, you probably understand the basics of profiling. The habits and history of the “unsub” (unidentified subject) get uncovered as a way to identify this person, usually a serial killer, and to ultimately stop them from killing. The key to finally discovering the killer’s identity usually lies with victimology. Who are this person’s victims and why? What do the victims have in common with each other?

This idea of victimology can also serve to help us non-serial killers discover more about ourselves in a way that can help us better “make the most of every opportunity” as we pursue holiness in that we can better learn to “love others as we love ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) By considering who our victims are and why, we can discover some significant truths about ourselves.

To fully benefit from the following points, first consider those individuals with whom you struggle. Who easily and consistently annoys, frustrates and/or angers you? (I know someone immediately came to mind. Did for me.) Now ask yourself what specifically triggers these reactions. For example, is a person’s arrogance, failure to listen or disorganization what bothers you? Or, perhaps bossiness or refusing to admit mistakes really gets you going. Maybe their over-confidence or constant dramatization of life bothers you. Once you’ve completed this evaluation, proceed with an open mind.

WARNING: This process may get a little uncomfortable. Proceed only with a teachable heart and a willingness to let the Holy Spirit get into some dark and dirty corners.

Now ask yourself if that which bothers you most in others lies at the heart of your own personal struggles. In other words, do the victims of your dislike indicate something you need to work on or come to terms with or accept as weaknesses within you?

Consider the following questions:

  1. Do you project & magnify? We sometimes project (or see) our own weaknesses and then magnify them (see them bigger than they really are) in others. We do this so much so that we no longer see those same weaknesses, bad habits, fears and insecurities in ourselves.
  2. Do you distract yourself? Dealing with insecurities, fears, weaknesses and bad habits can be so painful and uncomfortable that we avoid dealing with them through busyness, focusing on the problems of others, and outright self-deception. After all, if we don’t admit we have these issues, we don’t have to deal with them, right? (Wrong! We’ll deal with them one way or another, but that’s another topic for another time.) In distracting ourselves, we create our own version of reality that all too quickly becomes complete truth in our own minds thus seemingly justifying our actions.

This idea is somewhat at work in 2 Samuel 12 when the prophet Nathan rebukes David for killing Uriah and taking his wife for his own. Nathan first tells David a story to which David “burned with anger” and immediately wanted to take vengeance when all the while the story was about David. Fortunately, Nathan’s pointing out of David’s wrongdoing met a repentant heart (Psalm 51), but clearly David’s initial reaction showed that he had projected and magnified his own wrongdoing when he heard the story. He had also somehow distracted himself to the point of not initially seeing a correlation between the story and his adulterous actions.

So what do we DO after profiling our own victimology?

In Criminal Minds, the information is used to detect patterns in the unsub’s behavior. This can be a useful first step, especially if we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal those patterns to us and lead us to a place of repentance. A second step comes again from David in that he moved on with His life, seemingly trying to not repeat this same mistake. That’s not to say David didn’t make more mistakes, but a study of his life shows that he continually sought to please God.

When I watch Criminal Minds, I sometimes wonder what an official FBI profile of me would include. Maybe I don’t really want to find out. What I do know is the more I can self-assess, which really means the more I allow the Holy Spirit to show me areas on which I need to work, the better able I am to truly “make the most of every opportunity” that God gives me for serving and glorifying Him.

Related Posts:

How to… Put Your Behind in the Past

Stain Free

DISCUSSION: “The more pride we have, the more other people’s pride irritates us.” (C.S. Lewis) How does this quote connect with our study of victimology?

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9 Responses to “What We All Have in Common with Serial Killers”

  1. Mark Allman Says:

    It always scares me to know how close we all are to being able to do some pretty evil stuff.

  2. Kari Scare Says:

    Scary but very enlightening. Reminds me of the difference God has made in my life.

  3. I think projection has a lot to do with it, but for me – it seems to be more that I adopt pet peeves. I don't know why, but certain mindsets or behaviors I'll see as making my life inconvenient or unhappy. And then I will be clued into those tendencies and despise them wherever I see them. Not in a good way – in a self-righteous and angry way. Keeping track on what's mulling around in my mind has been the most helpful medicine for me.

    • Kari Scare Says:

      "Taking every thought captive" truly is so very important to keep our negative tendencies from going to a very scary place. You touch on another point I could have and actually briefly considered including in this post, an that is the idea of letting certain mindsets get out of hand. I believe that this can be the seed of evil if we don't take the thoughts captive and let the grace of God heal our minds.

  4. tnealtarver Says:

    A story I hope to write after book 2 is wrapped up deals with the line between good and evil that Solzhenytsin says runs through every person's heart. As Mark says, I'm aware of the terrible thoughts that I'm capable of thinking. I don't live in fear of them but I do recognize the deep need for Christ's life blood to be applied to my soul.

  5. WSM Says:

    Whenever I am tempted to project and magnify, I do my best to disract myself.

  6. […] topic. It’s seems so easy to see in others but difficult to identify in yourself. Certainly, projecting and magnifying pride is easy to do. After all, if pride seems bigger in others, maybe it won’t be so noticeable […]

  7. Mary McCauley Says:

    Thoughts are so important. I saw myself in this post and said, "Change my heart oh God". While we may change some things on our own real change can only come through surrender to God and His blood which makes us clean. Then indeed focusing on Him and His Word will help keep our thoughts in the positive as Paul recommends in Philippian.

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