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 a suspect, usually a serial killer, and to ultimately stop him (it’s almost always male) from killing. The key to finally discovering the killer’s identity, though, usually lies with victimology. Who the victims are and why as well as any commonalities among victims usually leads to discovering the killer.
This idea of victimology can 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.
Begin this self-profile by considering those individuals with whom you struggle the most. Who easily and consistently annoys, frustrates and/or angers you? Now ask yourself what specifically triggers these reactions. For example, is a person’s arrogance, failure to listen, or disorganization what bothers you? Perhaps bossiness or refusing to admit mistakes really gets you upset. Maybe their over-confidence or constant dramatization of life bothers you.
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 to help you answer honestly:
- 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.
- 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? 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.
Holy Spirit Profiling
In Criminal Minds, profiling is used to detect patterns in an unsub’s behavior. This is a useful first step for us as well, especially if we allow the Holy Spirit to profile us, revealing patterns and leading us to 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. That should be our goal as well.
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 allow the Holy Spirit to show me areas on which I need to work, the better able I am to live a life pleasing to God.