There is a big difference between acknowledging opposition in life because of who we are and what we represent or believe, on the one hand, and holding an attitude of victimhood on the other.
We are victims of sin in a sinful, fallen world. That is why God became flesh (Jesus Christ) and dwelt among us. Without holding a victim mentality, Jesus became the ultimate victim to provide for us another reality:
- Through Him, we are overcomers, saved from the state of sin and the consequences of sin.
- Through Him, we don't wallow in the darkness but rather, we are light dispelling the darkness of this world.
- Through Him, we can build bridges to those who would mistreat us and see them truly saved.
Jesus acknowledged the troubles we all face. He said, "In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b).
From church history, we know that the Friends (Quakers from 1650-1690) were victims of cruel religious persecution, but they refused a victim mentality. And the Lord used them to spread the gospel from Turkey in the East to the New World in the West. Why? Because our Lord's mandate in John 16:13 was their rallying cry.
Wretched prison conditions, which led to the death of hundreds imprisoned for their faith and good works, could not turn off their God-ordained purpose. The threat of death could not stop their compassion for souls who needed a Savior. They were overcomers.
Contrary to this, in my opinion, many Christians are buying into the culture of victimology. Why, I don't know! Is it a lack of discernment? Is it lack of biblical knowledge? Is it perceived as an avenue to gain a following?
Whatever the motive, it is obvious that some leaders—both in the world and in the church—are using this "I/thou" framework to gain influence.
Here is the paradigm:
"I" am a victim and "thou" art to blame, so you are my scapegoat and I will make you pay. You are responsible for my hardships, so you must change. And I will tell you how you must change to remove the pain and oppression you have inflicted on me, your "victim."
That's it in a nutshell!
The culture or cult of victimology removes any sense that I am responsible for my own conditions.
Instead, every effort is made in this model for the "victim" to manipulate his or her appointed "oppressor" through imposing a sense of guilt. "Look at me! Look at what you have done to me! You must change to suit me. You must pay!"
It is an effort "to blame, shame and tame," or, in other words, to control a person or group. And with the pressure of groupthink so prevalent today, this is a powerful, manipulative control element. Unfortunately, the masses are self-centered enough so as to be easy prey for the manipulators who vie for control and power.
Our Lord said: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32)."
So, if we have been lured into the cult of victimology, let's shake it off and get back to the Bible. Let's not be shaped by group think and culture. Let's be world-changers for the Lord. Let's create culture—both our personal culture and the culture of our sphere of influence—with the values of heaven.
This article is by Dr. Susan Hyatt, the president of God's Word to Women and the founding director of the International Christian Women's Hall of Fame. Her books are available from Amazon and her website at icwhp.org and godswordtowomen.org.
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