Understand the paralyzing effects of the victim mindset
Recognize five main excuses of the victim mindset
Overcome the lies fueling victimhood thinking
God’s questions to people in the Bible fascinate me. Here are a few good ones:
Who told you that you were naked? (Genesis 3:11)
Can these bones live? (Ezekiel 37:3)
What do you have in your house? (2 Kings 4:2)
Elijah, what are you doing here in this cave? (1 Kings 19:9)
Moses, what is in your hand? (Exodus 4:2)
Do you want to be made well? (John 5:6)
God is not looking for information through these questions, but He is creating an environment for the listener—and for us—to be transformed by perspective-shifting revelation.
The one biblical question that has probably challenged me the most is, “Do you want to be made well?”. It seems obvious that the answer would be yes, but it really isn’t. Let’s look at the context of where this question is asked.
“When Jesus saw him lying there (lame next to the pool of Bethesda), and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked” (John 5:6-9).
It would seem like a “no brainer” that the answer to Jesus’ question would be “Yes, I want to be made well,” but I have found from experience it’s not as simple an answer as one might think. Why is this? Because if I am to get well, I will have to give up my excuses for why I am not consistently responsible, loving, and making a positive influence on those around me. Often when we ask God for a specific outcome, He first asks about our willingness to take up new ownership so we can steward what He gives us.
The victim mindset lie tries to convince us we are at a disadvantage, are prisoners to our limitations, and are powerless to expect good things or to shape the future we want. Although our current circumstances may be less than ideal, powerlessness is not our portion in Christ.
I used to feel I was a victim of five things:
The people in my life
My current circumstances
A preordained plan of God to put limits on me
I heard, “Steve, you are not a victim of any of those things but just your bad beliefs.” Hearing this was discouraging at first, but then I was empowered to see the real problem in my life was actually something I had direct control over. None of those five things were really stopping me, but the conclusions I made about them were restricting my life in significant ways.
How then are we made well? It starts with us believing we are victors, not victims. Here are some beliefs for us to repeatedly declare that will lead to emotional and circumstantial victory:
I can thrive no matter what happens (Philippians 4:11-13)
My past experience will work to my advantage (Romans 8:28)
There is always a solution (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:5)
God will supernaturally empower me (Acts 1:8)
I am a significant person (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Do we want to be made well? Yes, Lord, we do. Thank you for leading us out of the darkness of any remaining victim mindsets and propelling us to influence multitudes to do the same.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.