I want to start off by pointing out that we ALL are a VICTIM of something in our lives! This is one thing none of us can escape no matter how we try. Every single person in this fallen world has been hurt, oppressed, wronged, abused, used, sexually violated, abandoned, rejected, hated, battered, robbed, shunned, terrorized, and a number of other causes of victimization that labels us a victim. Some have been a victim to many things while others only a few but we ALL have been a victim. So then why do some people end up choosing to remain a victim? Why do some people end up victimizing others as a result of their own hardships? Why do some people end up living their lives AS a VICTIM rather than breaking free from the chains that bind them? It's important to note that no one escapes becoming a victim to "something" or OF "something" but we ALL can escape the chains that bind us and keep us in that place.
In John 5:6, Jesus says, "When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?" In the book of John chapter 5 it gives us a clear view about a place called Bethesda, a supernatural city where an angel would eventually come down and stir the waters. That has always fascinated my inquisitive mind to just imagine an angel coming down from heaven to literally stir up the waters is something of a beautiful picture that forever remains in my mind! This is where Jesus found a man laying by a pool, along with many others, sick and diseased in varying degrees and in various ways. When the angel would swoop down and touch the waters to stir them, the first person to jump in was healed of whatever disease or infirmity they had! Talk about an amazing opportunity for an instant healing!
In this chapter and verse, it shows how Jesus walked up to a man who had been afflicted with an infirmity for thirty eight years. This disease gripped this man for most of his life. One thing Jesus knew is how easy it was, is and could be, for someone who has a disease for a long time to end up wrapping their whole identity around their disease. It happened then and it is still happening today. What comes against us, and something will, or has, can easily end up becoming a part of our identity, a part of who we believe we are, if we are not discerning enough. By that, I mean, simply put, we become comfortable with the very thing that holds us down or back from what God wants us. We BECOME what our bondage is, we become our own victim.
|Want to Be Healed?|
Now from my point of view, when reading that one simple question that Jesus asked the man, "Do you want to be made well?" seemed like such a simple question to actually answer with an emphatic YES! YES! YES! I WANT TO BE MADE WELL! But, reality hits and it's not so easy. Jesus asked a CLOSED ENDED question. Yes or No. But that's not what kind of answer He received from this man. Instead, the man replied, in John 5:7, "The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me." The sick man felt a need to EXPLAIN the "why" instead of just answering YES. This is what we all do from time to time. We explain instead of just answering. Some NEVER answer while others eventually do. Now by not answering Jesus with a resounding yes, what we hear instead, is victimization telling Jesus a STORY.
You see, Jesus just needed a yes or a no. If he wanted an explanation, He would have asked for one. But He didn't ask for an explanation, He just asked a simple closed ended yes or no question. Victimization doesn't answer those kinds of questions, because it draws a thick line in the sand of what would be a requirement from this day moving forward. If he says yes, well, then he is personally responsible, and accountable, from now on. If he says no, he'd look like a fool to everyone. So instead of either of those possibilities, he gives Jesus a list of reasons WHY he hasn't been able to get into the pool. Sounds a lot like our society today, doesn't it? Instead of just answering a "yes" or "no" to help that was offered, a story was offered in it's place by the "victim." All of us, if we aren't careful, can carry within us a story that isn't the story God has given us.
The story we carry could be sprinkled, or even littered, with soiled chapters of unhealed pain, unresolved brokenness, distorted perspectives and limited thinking. We can carry that story with us into many different situations, into many different kinds of relationships and, ultimately, projecting it onto future encounters. That "baggage" is a heavy load for us to carry, let alone projecting onto the innocent people we come into contact with and we shouldn't expect them to carry theirs AND ours too! Hurt people ALWAYS hurt others. The man had a chance to address his story and replace it with the story that Christ was bringing to him, a beautiful story of healing and wholeness instead of the illness and brokenness that he was carrying around with him most of his life. It's the same exact story that our God is bringing to all of us today, but we really have to ask ourselves the same question. Do I really want to be healed? It doesn't matter what the story is or how you got where you are today because we all have a story. What REALLY matters is if you WANT, if you DESIRE, to be HEALED.
The idea of a victim mentality first arose in Adam, perhaps being the best illustration, in the first ever sin, recorded in Genesis 3:12-13, "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. v13) And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." Then Adam blames Eve and God, and essentially Eve blames the snake. The CLEAR Principle here is take responsibility for your actions! Before I move on, let's take a look at a few other relevant principles in the Bible.
Galatians 6:5, "For each one shall bear their own load." This principle is not to transfer your burdens onto others.
2 Thessalonians 3:10, "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat." This principle is to not rely on the hard work of others but to earn your own way. If you're able to work, then you earn your keep.
Psalm 32:9, "Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you." This principle is to think for yourself!
Matthew 25:14-30 (parable of the talents) in v 24-25, "“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’" One man just buried his talent instead of putting it to use, blaming God for it! The principle here is don't blame others, take responsibility yourself!
I think those examples are pretty clear on what principles have been set before us and how Jesus does not want us to be victims because He overcame the sin of this world through His voluntary sacrifice on the Cross! His shed blood is covering us. His shed blood makes us victors! He IS victorious! In 2 Samuel 9, we read the story of King David and Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was the son of Jonathan and the grandson of the first king of Israel, King Saul. After Jonathan’s death, David went forward to show kindness to Saul’s house. At the tender age of 5, Mephibosheth became lame. He lived his entire life as a cripple. When David calls him forward, Mephibosheth says, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” Why did he ask that? Why did he have such a response? Well, because his whole identity was completely based on his own disability, when in fact he was the grandson of a king! But because he was so wrapped up in his own disability, he'd forgotten his royal lineage and was wallowing in self pity. Yet David looked beyond his disability and recognized who he was, and offered him a place at the King’s table.
How much time do we spend wallowing in our own self pity, moaning and groaning about the things that we struggle with on a daily basis? For many, it's so much so that it becomes who they are! This is the plot of the enemy, who is our adversary. It's exactly what the enemy would love nothing more to do than to keep us focused on our disabilities, on our brokenness, on our "issues," on our baggage, so that we are distracted from the calling of God on our lives. See, when we focus on being a victim, then the enemy becomes the victor. He is NOT victorious! He has only the amount of power over us that WE ALLOW! He wants us to have a “victim mentality.” If he can keep us as a "victim" then he can control the reins of our daily distractions, making us weaker and weaker and more distant from the Lord's will for our lives. But let’s not lose focus of the reality of who we are. In Jesus, we are a chosen generation, we are part of a royal priesthood, and the King has offered us a place at His table! We are heirs of His great throne! We ARE royalty because we are HIS! Look FORWARD, NOT behind!
|Responsibility and Accountability|
Now don't get me wrong, I KNOW fully that there are some REAL disabilities and REAL disorders that need professional help and treatment. Real abuse/disabilities have existed, and will exist, until the end of time. There are abusers/victims/disabilities in every strata of society, church and family. I KNOW there are REAL physical disabilities that also require professional treatment and help. I am not speaking about those because there are just some things that are out of our control. This post is not in any way speaking of those kinds of disabilities. However, I would like to point out that even the people with THOSE disabilities, can, and have been, healed by the Grace of God! He IS the ultimate HEALER! But having a disability of any kind, doesn't need to be, and shouldn't, be a crutch for skirting one's own responsibilities and being held accountable for one's actions. For EVERY adverse action, there is a consequence.
Disabilities brings me to a term that I really, really feel great passion about....LABELS. I'm going to spend a little time on this because it really ties into the "victim mentality" and how society had, and still has, a major role to play in its conception. A dear friend of mine knows this passion of mine all too well! I will point out that there are good labels and bad labels that are put on others and ourselves. Sometimes, because of some of the labels and how they make us feel, we add our own labels to the mix and end up an emotional wreck. And the opposite of that is true as well. Sometimes we hone in on a specific "good" label and add our own narcissistic ones and become so seemingly overly "perfect" that we lose who we really are because of how we NEED others to see us. Perfectionists. My focus is on the damaging labels because we all like and need good ones in our lives! A warm fuzzy, if you will! But even "good" labeling sometimes is heavily burdensome. So, one's identity can also boil down to a SINGLE LABEL and not just to a "disability"! When that label is a hurtful label, then that identity is immersed in lies. Lies, you ask? Yes. Lies. The enemy at work yet again!
Let's take for an example someone being labeled "crazy." That label is carried throughout their whole lives. They hear it, they see how others react to them, they feel rejected. The label that has been given to them hinders them. It hurts them. It makes them feel "less than." It slows down their growth as a human being and as a spiritual being. They then become that very label, whether it's true or not. Whether it's a real disorder or just that they're unique in their own way. By them becoming the label they have been given, they fall into a cycle of being a victim. Why? Well, they don't need to take responsibility for their actions because all they have to say is, "It's not my fault because I'm crazy." They don't need to be held accountable, and most of the time aren't held accountable in the same manner that another one would be, because all the courts and lawyers and mental health professionals have to say is, "Well it's not their fault because they're crazy. Mentally ill. They aren't able to understand." It doesn't matter if they can, if they can't or if they are. What matters is that they are a now a "victim" in a society of victims. What matters is oftentimes, the victimizers become the victims by default. They become whatever label, or in MANY cases LABELS, they are given and in turn become victims with a victim mentality. Remember, I'm not talking about the genuine disorders and disabilities out there. A label is nothing more than a hindrance to the person it's attached to and ultimately to the society in which they are living in. A hindrance is a bad thing and it's sometimes extremely hard to leave behind.
In John 7:53–8:11, we meet an unnamed woman. In the Bible, this section might be titled "The Woman Caught in Adultery" or "The Adulterous Woman." That titling is an accurate reflection of how she was seen by others. When the crowd holding the rocks looked at her, they didn't see her, as the person. They saw adultery, full stop. They saw the ACTION. The SIN. The CHOICE. At this point, I'd like to mention that SIN is also a disability. It disables us spiritually because it holds us back from what Jesus wants for us. It disables us by shame. It disables us by guilt. It disables our spiritual discernment. It disables our love towards others. It disables our desire for cleansing. Spiritually, having a disability can cripple our walk with the Lord! Now we all know what this woman felt like to one degree or another. Being labeled something because of a sin, an ongoing sin struggle, an unwise choice, or a past mistake. All we think is "when people look at me, this is all they see." Well my friends, Jesus is in the business of dealing with our labels. He's in the business with dealing with our disabilities. The woman in the story DID sin and she was caught in the act red handed. She, nor anyone else, was denying her guilt in the matter. According to the Jewish law, the punishment she deserved was to be stoned, even if those "religious" leaders of her time, were a little out of whack spiritually.
Jesus was about to teach her all about grace, but in order to do that, He wanted to get to the heart of this issue. His grace was bigger than her sin because His grace IS bigger than any of our sins!! He overcame our sins with His blood! Most of us know that the punishment for sin is death as it is stated in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Life is His free GIFT. Instead of death, Jesus offered the adulterous woman forgiveness. In just this one offer of forgiveness, we see Jesus' compassion and love for the sinner. So did her sins go unpunished? Did He let her off the hook? After all, that's what the entire crowd of accusers was worried about because they wanted justice. However, it is good to point out that what OUR earthly ideas are of justice being done is not in comparison to what is just in the eyes of God's justice system! We know, and we see, God is both loving and just. He didn't let her off the hook. He offered to hang there on the Cross for her instead. The theological word for what Jesus offered her that day is propitiation. Which means . . . full payment. He paid her sin debt in FULL! 1 John 4:10 says it this way: "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." He MAKES the full payment for our sin-debt. He IS the sin-debt payment. That's why this encounter is so radical because Jesus is God and He was the only one within the crowd on that day with the authority to condemn her. He didn't though. Instead, He dealt with her labels. Ah those labels!
Labels can also become disabling. So you can see how they intertwine with each other. One is used for a crutch to the other. I mentioned above how disabilities of all kinds can easily turn someone into a victim with a victim mentality. The biggest reason is that it becomes easier to remain in their disability because it's comfortable and they sometimes fear change. CHANGE can be disabling as well because if one fears how their life will change drastically by becoming more responsible, then it can also keep them stagnant in their lives. Those are the types that I'm referencing to in this post. The ones who SAY they want healed of their disabilities, infirmities and the like BUT do they REALLY?
Let's take for instance someone who is on disability. Someone who significantly improved from their original problem. They haven't worked in maybe a few years or even more, but their condition isn't so disabling as it maybe once was but they always seem to state that they want to be freed from their disabilities or be healed. Maybe they even ask the Lord to be healed but don't recognize the improvements that He has ALREADY done, either that or they don't want to see it. So I've been in contact with people like this and the question I've posed to them is, "Do you really want to be healed?" Their immediate response was YES of course! Well, then came the difficult part of this story.....and example. "Well, are you truly willing to give up your disability check if you get healed and no longer have this disease? Or if you are significantly improved and your disabling condition is managed?” Someone's TRUE reaction to this question is indicative of whether they're living with the "victim mentality" or not. They may ponder how their disease/condition/disability has actually developed and grown into a whole world of its own of perceived needed provisions that may be challenging to let go of. They became comfortable in the place they were living at mentally, physically and spiritually.
I am not trying to knock getting financial or medical help. That is NOT the point here. I firmly believe there are serious conditions, disabilities and diseases that require financial assistance and medical help. Those are the people that need it and should receive all the resources available to them! My purpose of what I'm trying to do and accomplish is getting to the root of whether or not someone really wants to be healed, truly, because with healing comes a new lifestyle, new responsibilities and an entirely new way of living. It also requires an entirely new way of THINKING. A lot of times people want the healing, but don’t want to embrace what a healed life looks like. That's what a victim promotes. They promote their need for rescuing with very little personal participation. Some people find it much easier to be an invalid, to be labeled and to be disabled by a society because they get plenty of attention while shedding all their responsibilities. If God is healing you, or has significantly improved your condition, there is nothing to fear. Start out slowly if you must but know that you should help improve your ability to support yourself or your family with the help of the Lord. You may still require some assistance while getting back into the swing of things but it's much better to do the will of God and BE IN the will of God than it is to remain in a disabling state of being which is not where He wants to you stay especially if He's already healed you or is possibly healing you now.
Can you see how labeling someone and having a disability go hand in hand? How they are a compliment to one another? How they can debilitate one's sense of self worth? How they CHANGE one's ATTITUDE towards themselves and the society in general? Attitude plays a part in whether one chooses to remain a victim with a victim mentality or chooses to become the victor. Sometimes it really is a choice. If you give someone a label long enough, they become that label and in turn that label becomes their disability. Their crutch. Their rock. Let's look back at the man by the pool for a moment. Why did Jesus ask that most important question to this man of whether he wanted to be healed? Is it possible to be paralyzed for 38 years and not want to be well? ABSOLUTELY and here's a few reasons why that is possible. I'm not saying this is for everyone, but think about what I'm really saying here.
1) The man had got used to his way of life. He became comfortable with what he knew and his way of life. The poolside was a familiar environment to him because the people he knew best were there. The man was a fixture - even something of a what we would term a celebrity. He had been seen waiting for the moving of the waters for so long that others saw him in the way he was presenting himself.
2) The paralyzed man's disability was his livelihood. It stirred up the sympathy of others and drew attention to him, not just to his disability. It's even possible that some of the regular visitors to the pool to dispense charity even admired him for the length of time he'd been going there. I'm sure he had a group of loyal people around him.
3) It's highly unlikely that this disabled man was prepared to meet the new challenges of a new life. He would need to find a job and support himself. In some ways for him, this seemed harder and much more demanding, than begging. And so he found it easier to remain disabled.
I bring you to this connection of the attitude because you will soon see how that plays a part in breaking free from the "victim mentality." The disabled man didn't respond positively or enthusiastically to the question Jesus asked of him. He didn't cry out, "Yes! Yes! Yes! I would give anything to be better." His heart didn't have the thrill of anticipation of actually being healed. But, instead, he told Jesus his hard luck story. Now remember, we all have a hard luck story to tell! The man had it ready to go because he told it often. Keep in mind that it pretty much made him kind of a celebrity at the pool of Bethesda. For 38 years, he'd been unable to take advantage of the up welling and stirred waters of the thermal spring by the angel. He didn't have any friends to help and someone else always beat him to it. He tells his story this way because he SEES himself as a helpless victim of his handicap and isolation. He became comfortable in the story and became the storyline. He wasn't willing to acknowledge the help he had to have received along the way in order to survive for so long. Someone must have moved him to the toilet, to be bathed and got him food. Did he really try hard enough to get down into the healing water? See he hoped to arouse and stir up some pity in Jesus and get a generous donation. The man's attitude wasn't in line with what he desired or what he said he desired. His attitude was self pity and that others needed to feel the same.
It is easy to develop a victim mentality and to allow a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual disability to rule our lives. Individually or in combination, however, I would like to point out that if there's a disability in one area, you are sure to find a disability in another area. We can give in to that illness, weaknesses of disposition or to circumstances. Or we can overcome. We can choose not to be a statistic. There are an innumerable amount of people who rise above their circumstances and refuse to be victims. In some cases, one's disability stems directly from circumstances. Look at the apostle Paul and how he continued on in his missionary journeys in spite of his thorn in the flesh. God's grace was sufficient for him. And God's Grace is sufficient for you too! We can use a disability for an unworthy purpose by trying to arouse sympathy, shirk responsibility, shying away from being accountable and excuse unworthy behavior. There is a growing tendency for juvenile delinquents to cite child abuse in mitigation for their criminal behavior. There is a growing tendency for adult criminals to incite mental abuse, emotional abuse or any form of physical abuse to shirk their responsibilities for their criminal actions. It doesn't stop there though because this "victim mentality" in our society is growing exponentially. You ever hear of supply and demand? This theory could easily be applied to this topic of discussion.
The number of "disability" disorders, conditions and diseases keep increasing each year. With the number of new diagnosis' there has to be a number of people TO diagnose. Everywhere you look, every corner you turn, someone is being diagnosed with something. Once again, I'm NOT speaking of the known disabling disorders, diseases or disabilities. I have great compassion for those souls! And for their caretakers as well! I'm strictly speaking of all of the other degrees that fall under "titles" and "labels" and "disabilities." Mental illness and physical handicaps/disabilities are very REAL and they should be treated as such! But I've found that many of those who are "victim mentality" living, mainly just have "issues." We ALL have issues, unresolved, irritating, frustrating issues. They don't warrant becoming a victim nor do they warrant being disabled. And they certainly don't warrant a disability. I have seen and heard how many people "work the system" in order to get a check, food, or any number of assistance out there to help those in need, just so they don't have to work and provide for themselves. They want to ride on the backs of others' hard work instead of doing what they need to do for themselves. The same is true for some criminals who truly are shirking their responsibilities for their actions. They seek out a "mental diagnosis" and where there's a demand, there is a supply! I've also seen some who, as soon as they saw improvement in themselves, wanted to get up and get back into the workforce, supporting themselves and/or families. I've also seen how the system became cracked and eventually broke because of the number of people being diagnosed with something. Those who have taken advantage of the system and who worked the system made it, and still makes it today, DIFFICULT for those who are really in NEED to get that help they desperately need and deserve.
The society we live in has this crazy need to diagnose everyone for anything remotely matching what someone may be going through. I just told my friend that I could scan through a million diagnoses and eventually find and become one that I could fit into. We ALL would. Why is that? Why is it that I could become "labeled" when I'm NOT mentally or emotionally disabled? Well, we go back to supply and demand and the victim mentality. There has been so many that have been diagnosed with some form of an illness that wasn't warranted. Just looking through the DSM, which is basically the Psychiatry's bible, one would find just how this is doing more HARM than good! Each year it seems there's a "new" disorder, a new mental illness. If something is wrong, find a label, slap it on and become that disability. These people are then thrown into the same society that they were plucked out of and let loose to work the system as being labeled disabled. Then get medicated so you don't know if you really are disabled or healed.
Yes, I have a passion for this part of society because in my years, I've seen how the LACK of accountability, and the lack of responsibility, has hurt our society. It's hurt groups of people. It's hurt nations. It's also gotten worse. Shirking responsibility and accountability for our own actions and conditions has nothing to do with God’s precepts for our lives, regardless of the form we may cling to! I've watched people with normal issues, with normal problems, crippled because they've been forced through a system they didn't need to be forced through. Sad. Very sad. By the time they did break through, it wasn't long before they fell back into their old "comfortable ways." I really saw a shift in this area in the mid to late '80's. People who had been arbitrarily slapped with a psychiatric label were, and are, struggling because of it. As of 2012, there were 374 psychiatric labels and I'm CERTAIN there are many more being added to that list as we speak and since that time. Receiving any of the those psychiatric labels, from nicotine dependence disorder to far end of the spectrum schizophrenia, can cost someone their health insurance, job, custody of their children, self-worth, self-esteem or their right to make their own medical and legal decisions. And if patients take psychiatric drugs, they also risk developing physical disorders as well, such as diabetes, heart problems, liver problems, weight gain and other serious conditions. Not to mention they can become addicted, and there's another label, and another disability. So, in light of the subjectivity of these diagnoses and the harm they can and do cause, we really should be extremely skeptical, and cautious, of them. Especially in the event of a misdiagnosis or just having issues because sometimes those are the very reasons one gets diagnosed with a mental disorder in the first place....issues. Some years ago, I did some extensive research on this topic and it was disheartening to say the least. It's becoming routine to classify almost everything aside from happiness, as a disorder. That's why it's possible for the entire population to be labeled.....and be victimized.
It would be less troubling if such diagnoses helped patients, if they helped in specific circumstances, but getting a label oftentimes hinders recovery. It can lead therapists to focus solely on narrow checklists of symptoms, giving little consideration for what is causing the patient’s suffering in the first place. I'm going to take a bold stand here and make this statement. Because of the DSM guide and checklist of symptoms and the lack of truly finding the underlying cause of one's suffering, the SAME patient diagnosed with, say bi-polar for example, by one doctor would be diagnosed with something totally different by another! That's why there seems to be so many "doctor" hoppers. However, by the time they've finished going from doctor to doctor, they've been labeled so much that it's inevitable that they will become at least one of them. Many therapists see patients through the DSM prism, trying to shoehorn a human being into a category. Interestingly, even the writers of psychology’s authoritative manual on mental illness, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), cannot agree on what constitutes a mental illness. People have a need for categories and labels. As something of interest, I will share something written way back in 1994 as a way to gauge what things were already like in changing the face of mental illness diagnoses. Allen Frances, lead editor of the current 2012 DSM, defends his manual as grounded in science, but at times has even acknowledged its lack of scientific rigor and the over-diagnosing that has followed. He said, “Our net was cast too wide,” Frances wrote in a 2010 Los Angeles Times op-ed, referring to the EXPLOSION of diagnoses that led to “false ‘epidemics’ ” of attention deficit disorder, autism and childhood bipolar disorder. Then in the current manual, released in 1994, he wrote, “captured many ‘patients’ who might have been far better off never entering the mental health system.” Frances has even said that “there is no definition of a mental disorder. . . . These concepts are virtually impossible to define precisely.”
Now let's get back to walking into WHOLENESS. Jesus heals the man by the pool, but the Bible doesn't say that He JUST healed him, but that Jesus makes him WHOLE. God is actually interested in all around wholeness. That's the COMPLETION of the healing! For most, we think the story is over and we move on to the next event. But Jesus actually runs into him at the temple and gives him a very interesting instruction. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” John 5:14. Jesus was making sure he understood that he was healed despite his sin issues, but that if he didn't watch out his sin issue could easily rise up again, and this time he would be sicker than he was before. As I thought about that, I pondered "Is there anything WORSE than being an invalid for 38 YEARS?!" Well, apparently there IS. One of the sin issues this man carried was that he saw all portions of his life as a victim, and through a victim's eyes. This view didn't leave any room for love, hope and faith to operate fully in his life. It gave no room for Jesus. When we live as victims, we carry unbelief. Unbelief denies the real possibility of our own situation being able to be changed. We lose hope, we even lose sight of our purpose, and end up believing the lies that we don't have any more viable options available to us. Just like the man who was healed, we need to understand that we need to live as a victor, not as a victim. Oftentimes, part of our healing process involves renouncing the sin of a victim mindset.
Psychology is a secular practice. Psychology informs the construct of mental illness with a secular, materialistic worldview. Most secular clinicians don't even believe, or acknowledge, that people are spiritual beings who live all of their life under the authority of a God who created them and holds them accountable. Denying the Divine and the spiritual requires them to see all problems as physical and organic in nature. To them, worry isn't sinful; it is a proven organic mental illness that requires medical intervention. Sorrow isn't even spiritual; it's a simply a medical problem that ultimately requires a pharmacological solution. It's "science" and science is not an exact. It's a variable. Jesus is NOT a variable. I believe that as Christians, we must be responsible with who we choose to seek out IF we believe there are problems that are disabling us because seeking out a secular therapist will get you secular or worldly advice, counsel and help. Seeking out Christian therapists and counselors will get you Bible based, Scriptural counseling, advice and help because Jesus is the center and the focus.
Because of the victim mentality that has been ramping up in the past decade or more, it's been the cause of all kinds of laws being implemented, changed, enforced and created. Since the beginning of time, Satan has used a deceitful and powerful weapon to catch people in a web of self-pity and "victim mentality". It continues like gangrene through our present day and we are so tantalized by its "gentle force" that all of us are susceptible. It’s becoming increasingly frustrating listening to those who would choose victim-hood over freedom. It's a choice of attitude, and those who truly have been hurt, who are truly victims, who are truly living with disorders and who are legitimately offended are often the first ones to lead by example. By that I mean they are usually the one's expressing their choice to bypass victim-hood and to live in light. Meanwhile, a society often diminishes true suffering when it elevates simple childishness, hurt feelings and common unresolved issues to "victimization." The "victim mentality" has infected the entire culture because it's been left unchecked! See mental, emotional, and spiritual disorders/disabilities is in the realm of abuse and it's no longer clearly defined. It’s become quite arbitrary and severely subjective, even in the legal circles, and those who choose to see beyond their own offenses are belittled for not being a victim enough. Victim-hood, rather than victory, is what is encouraged. This is the society we live in and it's the culture that has been slowly cultivated to help with the supply and demand.
|Your Ability Should be Your Response|
We all face choices, we can become victims and live in the misery of defeat and shame or we can
break free from the victim mentality and be overcomers. Galatians 4:3-6 says, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. v4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born[a] of a woman, born under the law, v5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. v6) And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” As Christians, we don't have any business walking in a victim mentality because God has already delivered us from it through the power of Jesus Christ. Jesus broke those bondages for us. Those chains are gone. We don't have to be in bondage to this world because this world belongs to Satan. If we are to go forth as a conquering army then this means each and every single one of us has to walk in the victory that He has given to us. A victim mentality doesn't bring us to victory. If you maintain a victim mentality then guess what? You will remain a victim. God has something MUCH better for you than that. In order to break free from the victim mentality, we need the truth of God's word to set us free from the bondages of our past. The principles of God’s word must become the guiding principles of our lives if we are to truly break this bondage.
Here are just three key principles, even though there are many more, that I'd just like to touch on before I close this post.
1) We Must Face The Pain Of The Past And Deal With It. - We have to be willing to take a good, long, hard look at our lives and discern how much of a victim we have actually become. Then we need to be willing to see what it was that caused us to fall into the snare and begin to deal with it. Hebrews 12:12-15 - "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, v13) and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. v14) Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: v15) looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;"
2) We Must Take Responsibility For Our Lives. - Romans 14:12 - "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God." No matter who or what may have caused you to fall into a victim mentality, it's ultimately your responsibility to get out of it. You've got to quit blaming others and feeling sorry for yourself and take responsibility for your life. The prodigal son is an example of a person who fell into the trap of a victim, but his victory was predicated on the fact that he took responsibility for his actions. "Luke 15:17-18 - But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! `I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you..."
3) We Must Have Clearly Established Goals and Priorities. - Proverbs 21:5 - "The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty." If we don't take control of our lives by establishing goals and priorities, circumstances and others will do it for us.
We live in a society that is producing an exorbitant amount of victims. Daily you hear about it on the news, in the papers, in studies, in churches, in businesses, in families and in courts. This is what the world wants us to be....victims. It's easier to label than it is to conquer! It's easier to remain disabled than it is to be set free into a new life. Jesus overcame! He is the ultimate VICTOR! God has something in store for all of us that is so much greater than succumbing to the elements of the world that already has fallen and belongs to the very one that wants us to become victims with a victim mentality!
Let's be diligent and walk in these Godly principles so that we can be victorious in all that we do. We are not alone. The Lord is right there with you, with us!
What labels are you wearing today? What disabilities are crippling you mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? Ask the Lord to reveal them to you so that you may seek His face in asking Him to help you overcome them. Ask the Lord for your victory. Remember don't let the poison of your past ruin the fruits of your future! And don't become another statistic....Satan doesn't need anymore.