Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Victimhood, Blame, and Unproductive Suffering


Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

A few years ago a police officer accidentally shot and killed a man in their apartment complex. The deceased man's brother was in the courtroom when the officer was sentenced to ten years in prison. When it was the brother's turn to speak after the sentencing, instead of raging at the officer, he said, "I forgive you." Then he asked the judge if he could give the officer a hug. (See here.)

The maturity of this man contains many messages. One is: We don't have to live as angry victims the rest of our lives. That... is true freedom! This is opposed to what is commonly seen - like the person who leaves their spouse, or their friends, or their parents, or their religion, claims to now "be free," but demonstrates their bondage by unleashing hatred and blame against the spouse/friends/parents/church that hurt them.

To better understand how to be free from a victim mentality I recommend John Townsend's book The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way.

One of the bitter fruits of entitlement is externalization. Townsend writes: "People with an attitude of entitlement often project the responsibility of their choices on the outside, not the inside. The fault lies with other people, circumstances, or events. They blame others for every problem." (p. 61)

The worship songs of externalization are...

"It's Them, It's Them, It's Them O Lord, 
Standin' in the Need of Prayer," 


"Change Their Hearts, O God." 

Externalization-people fail to look at their part in their problems. "Instead, they default to answers outside their skin. The result? They tend to be powerless and unhappy. They tend to see life through the eyes of a victim. And their suffering is unproductive — it doesn’t get them anywhere." (Ib.)

The classic victim mentality is:

"Yes, I did what was wrong. But you forced me to do it." This is a testimony to human character weakness. The characterless "victim" persists in recruiting other characterless people for the self-justification of evil. They engage in perpetual destruction of others, not to mention their own soul.

"Blame," writes Townsend, "is a first cousin to entitlement." 

The constant blamer is the perpetual victim. The antidote to this bondage is to reject forces outside yourself and take responsibility for your own choices and attitudes. Be open to seeing yourself as the problem. Reject a global victimization that views yourself as someone who is always being "done to," and own your own part in your problems. 

Forgive those who have trespassed on your heart. Take responsibility for your own trespassing.