In our experiences over the years of interacting with hurting people, we have observed two contrasting types of individuals. We have been blessed by the refreshing attitude of people who have experienced pain, but are now choosing to live as “victors.” It does not mean they never struggle or feel the pain from their loss, however, they have chosen to soar above their circumstances. Because of their loss or unfortunate circumstances, they have allowed God to mold them into His likeness and are now demonstrating many godly character qualities. Rather than having a “victim” mentality, they look for ways to serve and express compassion to others who need encouragement. They have allowed God to use their trials and tears to benefit others.
The “victim” has an altogether different outlook. Although they may have found some healing in the process of their journey, they seem to be “stuck.” They may seem unwilling to go to deeper levels to receive complete healing and be able to move on. It is critical for everyone who has been a “victim” to pain and loss, to be able to share their hearts with someone and to process their feelings and emotions. However, those with a “victim” mentality have the tendency to compensate by making sure they are no longer taken advantage of and are now handled with care. Because of their misfortune, they justify this change in their demeanor as they begin focusing more on their own needs. In a sense, they are trying to compensate for the unfairness of them being denied what others have experienced. Instead of being thankful for what they have, they may have a sense of heaviness because their focus has turned inward. Rather than being grateful for what they have, they continue to feel frustrated or discouraged because of what they were denied.
The “victim” mentality may even bring a sense of security to themselves. It can be their protection from needing to look deeply into the conditions of their own hearts. This mindset hinders them from truly forgiving their offenders because they are plagued with a “beam” in their own eyes. Jesus says in Matthew 7:5, “…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” When the “victim” keeps focusing on their own injustices, it prevents them from seeing their own pride or bitterness.
As I shared in my last blog, (“Are You Heart Healthy?”) I am on a journey to personally look deeper into the true conditions of my own heart. As I have begun to do this, I have seen the “junk” that has been buried there. If you continue to join me for this journey, you will also be shocked at what is in your heart. This is not for the weak or faint hearted! This is for you, if you are committed to growing in your relationship with the Great Physician and desire His healing touch in your life.
What is at the root of a “victim” mindset? It is the spirit of pride. Pride. What an ugly word! No one wants to admit that we have a
prideful heart. In Psalms 139:23-24, David says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I believe, if this is your heart’s cry, God will show you the areas of pride in your life. None of us are exempt from this hidden sin.
Today, I had to apologize to one of my teenage daughters for the spirit of pride. I had warned her about a certain situation, and I felt like she wasn’t heeding my warnings. After she experienced the very thing I had been concerned about, my prideful heart was trying to convince her that she should have heeded my warnings. After all, I was right! After I confessed and apologized of the this ugly pride, she was also able to recognize that pride kept her from heeding my initial warnings.
Some of the evidences of pride are when we think about ourselves more than God or others. Pride also attempts to hide our faults and failures from others so they think we are actually better than we really are. Is it hard for you to say that you are sorry? Do you try to justify or come up with reasons of why you responded wrong to a situation? This is pride. Pride also expects others to treat us right and to serve us. When we demand the right to make final decisions about our lives, this also indicates that we are struggling with authority and have a prideful spirit.
Does your life demonstrate the evidences of a prideful heart? Do you think more about your own needs rather than the needs of others, or do you have a servant’s heart? The true test of a servant’s heart is seeing how you respond when you are treated like one.
Are there broken relationships in your life? The Bible says that pride is also the root issue of every broken relationship that we face. “Where there is strife, there is pride…” (Prov. 13:10) Pride also keeps you from forgiving someone who has hurt you or has been responsible for your pain.
God hates a proud heart. It is critical that the ugly areas of pride in our lives are exposed, and that we properly take care of a “victim” mentality. The smell of a “victor” is sweet, but the stench of a “victim” is nauseating to God and others. Which mentality best describes you?
“An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” (Prov. 21:4) “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6) “The LORD will destroy the house of the proud.” (Prov.15:25)