The Victim Mentality


When I was young my mom used to send me to my room if ever I was having a "pity party" (real fun party ;)). I was allowed to come out when I was willing to stop whining and have a logical conversation. When we see ourselves as primarily the recipients of wrong-doing, we become paralyzed within our own thought-world. Although it makes us feel validated in the moment, we don't realize there is no moving forward when "victim" has increasingly become our identity over the course of years. Victims want pity, they don't want to forgive or listen. Grace has no part in the life of a victim.

Most people really are victims of wrong-doing, even serious wrong-doing. But should we live our lives identifying ourselves by what's been taken or done to us? It sure is tempting, even for me. Or should we follow Jesus' teaching, and forgive in order to gain new life? We all know those people that are wallowing in self-pity, and we've seen how self-focused they are. They have, unknowingly, stunted their own growth. Where there is no forgiveness or hope of change for their wrong-doer, the victim becomes engrossed and controlled by the past, unable to move forward.

Telling someone to feel sorry for us is not what institutes change. People might be moved by our story, but they will be turned off by our self-focus. What is truly attractive, and what makes people want to act on our behalf, is when we are willing to be the bigger man, and love those that have reviled us. There is nothing that beats down a hardened heart door faster than undeserved kindness.

We want compensation now for all the times we have felt mistreated. We want people to feel the pain as keenly as we have, so that maybe what we went through would have more meaning. But that isn't how life works. God doesn't let us sit back and think about all the ways we've been hurt; He calls us to look at how we've hurt others. Sin is something that, not only has been done to each of us, but we have also done to many others, not to mention the very Son of God on the cross. So, the next time you're tempted to think of yourself as the victim, remember how you have hurt others as well. We all need forgiveness, and our identity of a victim only keeps us from extending that. If we want to move forward, if we want to honor God in this area, we can't be the victim anymore. We have to give grace.

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