Edging God Out through Victim Mentality
I have spoken here about Edging God Out. We have examined several ways in which we Edge God Out. Pride, Fear, Busyness, Unforgiveness, A sense of Entitlement ae some of the ways in which we Edge God out of our lives.
Today we are going to examine another way we Edge God Out.
Many of you know the nursery rhyme of “Old McDonald had a farm” isn’t it? Well there is epilogue to the story. One day Old McDonald and his wife decided to retire from their farm. So all the farm animals got together and decided to give the McDonald’s a nice farewell. They were grateful to all the couple did for them during their life time, so each started to volunteer to give gifts to the McDonald couple. The Hen excitedly told, I will provide an egg to them for the rest of their lives so that they can have some great breakfast everyday. The Cow joined in said, I will give them their daily quota of milk. The Sheep said I will provide enough wool for them to keep them warm during winter. The horse said that it will give them a ride every day to wherever they wanted to go.. and so on went the offers. Hearing all this the pig was silent and becoming tense every moment. So the others offered a suggestion, hey pig, why don’t you offer to provide ham and bacon every day for the farmer couple? The Pig said, hey that is not fair. You are all speaking about contributing passively, and my contribution needs to be active and is not repeatable. You get the picture isn’t it? Are there times when you have felt like the pig in this story. Have you felt that life demands more from you than from others? Have you felt that God demands more from you than from others?
Let us start with a self-assessment. I would like us to honestly react to the following statement with Never, sometimes or often. (Adapted from the list provided by Pastor Pat Damiani , Faithlife Sermons, 2017)
- My first reaction to a setback is to blame someone else for what happened.
- I feel like no matter what I do, things really aren’t going to change for me.
- I spend a fair amount of time thinking about past failures and mistakes.
- I’m always so busy with work and the things I need to do to survive , that I just don’t have the time to do the things that I’d really like to do.
- I often find myself beginning my thoughts with phrases like “I can’t…”, “I’m no good at…”, or “I’ve never been able to…”
- When friends offer advice, I usually answer, “Yes, but…” since they can’t possibly know how difficult my situation really is.
- Conversations with friends are often about how hard my life is.
- I never get what I deserve.
- Other people are a whole lot luckier than I am.
If you are able to answer “Never” to all the questions listed above, then you are a saint and don’t need to hear the rest of this message. If you have answered mostly in the “Sometimes” category, then you are normal. If you have more than two in the “Often” category, then you might be suffering from what psychologists call a victim mentality.
So that is the behaviour we would like to focus on today. Edging God out through victim mentality. The statements given in the self assessment explain what Victim mentality is all about. Let us look at a biblical Character who had such a victim mentality.
Let us go to 1 Samuel Chapter 13 for this, we see here, that Sau had been made the king. He has been chosen from the smallest of the tribes and give the highest position in the Kingdom. He had every reason to be grateful and to do as the Lord willed. Instead, we see him demonstrating the victim mentality very often. In the Chapter 13 we see that he gets impatient to make an offering and attack the Philistines. And when Samuel comes and asks him his reaction is classic.
1 Sam 13:11-12 (ESV) 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”
Saul was simply not taking any responsibility for what has happened. He blamed the people (they started scattering) , he blamed Samuel (You did not turn up as promised), and he blamed the situation (Philistines had mustered). Finally he rationalises his action, saying that he was “forced” to act. He was basically saying that he was the victim here. This incident reveals several aspects of victim mentality. Not taking responsibility, blaming others, rationalising the act etc.
The second instance where we can see clearly this is when Saul saw that some one else was getting more praise than him.
1 Sam 18:7-9 (ESV) , 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands and David his ten thousands.” 8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on.
Saul just could not digest the fact that someone whom he gave an opportunity to be in the palace is getting more praise than himself. This is another classical belief of the people with victim mentality. The belief that others are getting a better deal than themselves. That life is cosier for others than for themselves.
The third example can be seen in 1 Sam 22: 7-8 (ESV) 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day.”
This is a classic self-declaration by Saul that he is the victim. People with Victim mentality, will feel strongly that everyone else is conspiring against them. They feel that they are not informed of things that are important. They feel that someone else is being favoured. They feel that no one feels “sorry” for them.
So we have established that Saul did Edge God out of His life through the victim mentality. But, Before we criticise Saul too much, let us go back to the self-assessment sheet and find out times when we have felt very close to Saul’s thinking in our own lives. Are there times when we have edged God out of our lives through our own victim mentality?
So what is the antidote to Victim Mentality? I have spoken about it before here. The antidote to Edging God Out is Exalting God Only. EGO to EGO. So in the context of Victim Mentality, what do we need to do to Exalt God Only?
Bible clearly tells us that we are Victors and not Victims. Thanks to Pastor for starting the study of the book of Revelation. Jesus’ letters to the seven churches (all of them) end with a promise to those who “overcome” or “conquer”. This is the call to be a Victor and not a victim. So the way to Exalt God only is to replace the victim mentality with the Victor’s mentality. There are several examples of Victor Mentality in the Bible.
Let us look at just one example before we look at the perfect example. Let us look at King Josiah. When we read the book of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles we get a great parade of evil kings, broken by a few good kings somewhere in between. After King David we have King Hezekiah who was a good king, but after Hezekiah, we find few of the worst kings in the history of Israel (and probably of human kind). Then Josiah becomes King at the young age of 8. He had all circumstances that promoted evil. His father and Grandfather were cruel kings. He had probably witnessed the murder of his own father. He grew up in a land that was full of chaos and bloodshed. The people were far from God, rebelled against Him, and worshipped all other types of gods. The modern theory of circumstances say that if you grow up in violent home, you are more likely to be violent. If you grow up in abusive circumstances, you are likely to become abusive yourselves. So by that theory, Josiah should have turned out really bad. All his circumstances forced him to be bad. If anyone could become a victim of circumstances, Josiah had the perfect right. But we see that he emerges a victor among against all circumstances. When we study the life of Josiah we can see that he is able to overcome the victim mentality and attain the victor mentality through a submissive spirit, Holy habits and pursuing a purposeful path. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. (2 Kgs 22:2). Josiah teaches us that we don’t have to be victims of our circumstance, but we can be victors.
Needless to say, the perfect example of a victor mentality is demonstrated by Jesus Christ. We all know that Jesus had every reason to walk around like a victim, but He set an example for us. He did not blame others. He did not vow vengeance, He did not shift the responsibility, He did not think that life was giving others a better deal.
1 Pet 2:21-25 (NJKV) 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
If we believe in Jesus Christ, and if we believe that He is our Shepherd and He is the Overseer of our souls, we will find comfort and confidence that nothing can separate us from His love, and that will automatically give us a victor mentality.
Rom 8:38-39 (NKJV) 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.