It comes so naturally to us as humans to see ourselves as victims. And we are! Most of us have been the victims of other people’s sins against us. But there has to come a time when we get over our victim mentality and begin to make a positive contribution to the world as well as to our own personal lives. So let’s look at how a victim mentality came early to the human race, how we might recognise it and how we might learn to overcome it.
- The Beginning Of Victim Mentality In Humans
It began early! Very early in fact! Right at the very beginning of the human race. And all based on a lie!
Human life began as being in a state of bliss. God created it thus for humans. Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”
Wow! What amazing grace! Being allowed to share the creator’s’ world with Him as an act of His grace towards us. Humans couldn’t earn that privilege! They couldn’t deserve that privilege! They couldn’t create that privilege for themselves! All of this was graced to humans in love. God’s love! Existence by grace! Provision for human needs by grace! A shared dominion over creation by His grace!
What went wrong? Humans deliberately acted on a lie!
What was the lie? The devil saying in effect, “Hey Adam and Eve, you are victims. God is holding out on you! He’s not sharing everything with you! He won’t let you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Him, knowing good and evil. You are the victims of an unjust God!”
The Fall of humans. How? They put their trust in a lie from the devil [a fallen creature] and acted on it, instead of trusting in the word and promises of a loving gracious Creator God. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” Gen 3:6-7.
Sin had entered the world. Adam and Eve knew they had disobeyed God. How did they react? By trying to hide their sin and themselves from Him. AND by trying to shift the blame for their wrong-doing onto others!
Adam the blame-shifter. Projecting his guilt onto Eve AND onto God.
He told God, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12. In other words Adam was saying, “Hey! I’m the victim here! The blame lies with the woman! She’s the guilty one! She gave me the fruit! AND just remember too God, that YOU gave her to me, so ultimately it’s your fault, not mine! Don’t blame me!”
He was attempting to evade all personal responsibility by seeing himself as the victim in the situation. However he did do what was forbidden and ate the fruit. He was guilty! You can’t get rid of guilt by trying to project it onto other people. Or even on to God Himself. Guilt remains until it is dealt with in God’s way through the cross of Christ.
Eve was also a blame-shifter. She projected her guilt onto the devil. She blamed him rather than herself!
Gen 3:13 ‘Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” She was honest in admitting she had eaten the fruit but shifted the responsibility on to the devil who had tempted her. However the devil didn’t eat the fruit. She did!She was accountable before God for her guilt. As we all are!
It means that denial of guilt and evasion of responsibility was embedded firmly into the human race at the very beginning. And it has continued ever since. But can humans ever overcome it, and if so, how? We look briefly at the example of one human named Joseph.
2. Joseph The Victim Who Didn’t Wallow In Victimhood And Self-Pity
If we were ever to draw up a list of true victims, Joseph would have to be considered. He was the victim of many things.
- He was the victim of his father’s unwise favouritism. His multicoloured coat marked him out as someone special. His brothers obviously saw him as his father’s pet. That didn’t enhance brotherly love! Genesis 37:3-4.
- He was the victim of his own stupidity in telling his brothers he would one day rule over them. It may have been true but this didn’t enhance brotherly love either.
- He was the victim of the hatred of his brothers towards him when they plotted to kill him in the wilderness.
- They eventually sold him into slavery to some merchants passing by. He was sold to Potiphar a high ranking official in Egypt. Even though he was a victim he continued to trust in God who blessed him and his activities.
- He was the victim of sexual harassment by the wife of Potiphar but he continued to reject her advances.
- He was the victim of a false charge by Potiphar’s wife of attemped rape and thrown into prison.
- He was victim of a lack of support by the servant who promised to help him after he successfully interpreted a dream the servant had.
However how did he handle all the rejection and suffering his brothers had caused him to suffer? He looked beyond all the pain and suffering and saw that God had over-ruled for the benefit of many people. His words showed his incredible trust in God and his understanding that ultimately God is in control of all things. When he eventually revealed his identity to his brothers he told them, Gen 45:4 “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 45:4-8.
Because of his trust in God he could see the big picture. God was in control! Later, Joseph again reassured his brothers, offering forgiveness and saying, ‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.’ Genesis 50:20-21.
Did Joseph deserve to be a victim of all this rejection and suffering? Of course not! But his example shows that it is possible by the grace of God to cease being a victim and begin to win some victories in life as one continues to trust in the Lord.
It has been my experience in the Healing Ministry over 50 years that when victims turn to the Lord for healing and His blessing that they can turn the effects of the most horrible circumstances in life into a deep ministry in helping others cope with difficult situations and help them also find a real ministry to others as well.
Blog No.311 posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Wednesday 1st February 2019.