Many times in life you find people glued to the victim mentality. They may never actually utter the phrase “Woe is me” but their attitude, actions, and constant complaining allows us to read that statement loud and clear.
Don’t get me wrong, things in life happen that are difficult. It’s all relative really. You may think “I had it rough, my parents split when I was 5.” For you, that was something you had to or are continuing to work through and deal with. But to someone who had their parents killed in a car wreck when they were 5, to them, you had it easy. There are a slew of diseases, circumstances, and other things that we have little to no control over that affect our lives in a negative way. This is the result of living in a “fallen world” – and by that I mean a world that has sin in it, which is the result of man rebelling against God and thus ruining the perfect earth. But thanks to having free will to chose to love God or reject Him, this was and is possible.
Really though, it’s how you choose to respond to the circumstances of life, that determine a lot of your outlook on life. You also can make decisions that although may cause you to miss out on some gratification at that time, end up making you more fulfilled in the long run. Most people know this, especially adults. Or at least they’re supposed to.
Many people grow up (physically) and never get how they’ve put themself in the most of the circumstances they are in. If they had never put themselves at point A, then they wouldn’t have been in a position for B to happen. They don’t get that. They instead want to assert their right to do what they want and say how they had every right to be at point A and how could they have known B would happen? Woe is them that B happened!! They can’t believe it. They have the worst luck. The world is out to get them. Why don’t more people feel sorry for them?? They don’t have any real friends because no one is consoling them about B…
Probably because most of your real friends tried to tell about the dangers of B coming and you told them to mind their own business. Or they didn’t tell you because you have a pattern of not listening and chasing instant gratification more than fulfillment and wisdom. Many will pat that person on the back and say “you just need to mature some” and although that may be true, patterns sometimes are character flaws more than maturity problems.
I believe the problem is rooted in selfishness. Some people grow out of it, but most people have that at their core. I’ll call it the sinful nature of self. Everyone has it at birth. It will play itself out in a plethora of ways, but this is one area that evidences it. The victim mentality always puts the responsibility on some one or some thing else and never looks in the mirror. It says woe is me and instead is usually just misery and woe to everyone who has to listen to you going through the same things repeatedly, without seeing you learn from it.
This shows up at some churches. Many people that consider themselves Christians will carry the long “woe is me” face all the time. Life is NEVER good to them. God is ALWAYS letting the devil test them. They NEVER have a prayer request or prayer for anyone else – only themselves. They can’t seem to understand why stuff happens to them and you hear them always playing the victim. Whether its job related, money related, health related, relationship related, or what have you – they have it so much worse than they deserve and don’t understand. They think they are Job or pretty close.
Mark Driscoll once said, “Call yourself Job? You’re not Job if you punch yourself in the face.” I’ve said before “Don’t keep hitting your head on the wall, while complaining to me it hurts.” The truth is, most of the problems going on really aren’t as bad as that person makes them out to be and could have been averted or at least lessened if they had stopped to take their eyes off their own navel and looked at the possible outcomes. More importantly, for the Christian, learning to be lead by God and His will through prayer will help you avert those.
Don’t get me wrong, life still happens and is tough at times. But the true joy of knowing Christ is in the internals more than externals of what’s happening around you. You can’t control how everything happens, but you can control how you’ve planned and how you respond. There’s always going to be someone that has it easier than you, but your attitude will determine how most of your journey through trials goes.
Is this really news to anyone? Probably not. But as Christmas approaches selfishness seems to increase – along with false humility and other undesirables – but there is a plethora of good that goes on too. I encourage you to stay focused on Christ, who will then have you focus on others. It won’t mean things will be always easy, but it will mean that true joy will not change based on your circumstances.
If you are this person, remember, it’s not about you. Most likely you aren’t in a bad relationship, broke, hurting emotionally, in a horrible job, have bad luck, over-drafted and under-paid just because the world is out to get you. Most likely you have more to do with that than you realize or are willing to admit. Look for the silver lining and hug the people that still love you. If you don’t think they’ve been pitying you enough, chances are you’ve been doing it enough for everyone. If you know someone like this, let the love of Christ flow through you to them continually. Love isn’t based on our approval of what people do. Besides, there are plenty of people that are in need of love and consoling.