A Safe Place Online Logo

Victim or Victorious?

Let’s face It.. we’ve all been through tough times at some point In our lives. Some occur because of decisions we have made, some have been through decisions made for us, and some just happen. When difficult times happen to us, we have a choice to make. Do we live as a victim, or as a victor?

Let’s define the term “Victim Mentality”
While there is no formal psychological definition of a victim mentality, a useful working definition is as follows:If you have a victim mentality, you will see your entire life through a perspective that things constantly happen ‘to’ you. Victimisation is thus a combination of seeing most things in life as negative, beyond your control, and as something you should be given sympathy for experiencing as you ‘deserve’ better. At its heart, a victim mentality is actually a way to avoid taking any responsibility for yourself or your life. By believing you have no power then you don’t have to take action.In other words, any bad thing in your life is the fault of other people. They’re the ones that are bad, wrong, or dumb, and you are good, right, and brilliant. Other people do bad or stupid things, and you suffer as a result.

A Crucial Distinction: Being a Victim vs. Victim Mentality
Before we go any further, let’s make a crucial distinction: there is such a thing as an innocent victim. Such a person suffers (exclusively) because of another person’s sin.

The Christian Bible has something to say about living as a victim or as a victor, We see this clearly in Scripture.For example, oppressing innocent victims is condemned by God throughout Scripture (e.g. Zech 7:9-10; Jas 2:6). Jesus himself is the victim par excellence of human wickedness (Is 53:6-7; Lk 23:15-16; Acts 3:14-15). And the New Testament affirms the unjust persecution that many Christians suffered (e.g. 1 Peter 2:19).
People can be innocent victims. We can suffer unjust evil at the hands of others.

But we need to beware of moving from being an innocent victim to adopting a victim mentality.

And in the case of other victims, we should affirm the reality of their suffering (and as we have the opportunity, address it). But we do them a grave disservice if we promote in them a victim mentality.

Here are 6 Reasons why:


While the Bible does recognize the reality of innocent victims, it stops short of affirming a victim mentality.
We see this firstly in the life of Jesus. If anyone had a right to adopt a ‘victim mentality’ – blaming other people for their own unjust suffering – it was Jesus. And yet, according to Scripture, Jesus didn’t adopt any behavior consistent with a victim mentality. Instead, in response to his suffering, he had the mindset of a humble servant (Phil 2:7-8); he endured faithfully as he saw the joy that waited for him on the other side of his resurrection (Heb 12:2); and he actively trusted God throughout the ordeal (1 Peter 2:21-23), knowing there was a purpose behind his suffering (Mark 10:45). Furthermore, he lovingly suffered and bled for those who victimized him (1 Peter 2:21-24). Even in the midst of his suffering, he prayed for their forgiveness (Luke 23:34).

The foremost victim of human history never adopted the victim mentality. And the New Testament commands Christians to have this same attitude as Jesus.Even as we undergo persecution, we’re never encouraged to adopt anything resembling a victim mentality. Instead, we’re to act responsibly: doing good in the midst of persecution with the aim of helping our enemies come to know Christ (1 Peter 2:12); not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult (1 Peter 2:20-23); not hating our enemies but loving them (Matt 5:44). And instead of blanket negativity in the face of unjust suffering, we’re to rejoice even as we grieve (1 Peter 1:6, 4:16). Notice these are active commands: there is no passivity or giving up in the face of suffering – even unjust suffering.A victim mentality is not a biblical response to unjust suffering.


The victim mentality distorts our view of reality. When we adopt a victim mentality, we tend to see things through a negative lens. We magnify the bad things that happen to us and attribute them exclusively to people and forces outside of our control. We lose our perspective on reality.


A victim mentality magnifies the harm done to us and minimizes our own sinfulness. After all, we reason, our sin is nothing compared to what others have done to us. But except for circumstances where we are innocent victims (e.g. when robbed at gunpoint etc), we often have some responsibility for our situation. We often have some part to play in the way things have turned out (even if only partially). But a victim mentality tells a false narrative, explaining our situation so that blame lies exclusively with other people/circumstances. Or to put it theologically, we become blind to our own sin. To use my Hungarian upbringing as an example, it was only later I realized that—shock, horror—Hungarian history isn’t a simple case of Hungarians being innocent victims. Often, Hungarians did evil things to others too (e.g. antisemitism). But I was never taught that growing up, because of the victim mentality. Furthermore, when we’re blind to our own sin, we’re blind to our need for rescue from sin. We’re blind to our need for a Saviour. And that’s a spiritually dangerous situation to be in.


One of the most harmful impacts of a victim mentality is what it does to people who hold it: it removes nearly all their initiative to improve their situation. They lose the ability to positively influence their circumstances, and better their lives. In other words, they are held hostage to their circumstances. As secular thinker and author Stephen Covey points out: Reactive people [i.e. people with a victim mentality] are affected by their…environment…When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don’t, they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.’ [2]


Because we’re not thankful for our blessings.A victim mentality not only distorts and magnifies our difficulties, it also minimizes our blessings. If we only see our difficulties (and are frustrated by them), we won’t look around long enough to notice our blessings. But again, this isn’t biblical. As Christians, God has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3), and so we can be thankful no matter our earthly circumstances (Col 2:6-7). We can rejoice even in our sufferings, knowing that suffering achieves for us our ultimate end – to be more like Christ (Rom 5:3-5). Yes, we grieve as we suffer. We might be wracked with pain as we endure injustice. We might work to end such injustice. But we do this with hope and with love – not with anger and hatred toward those who hurt us.


If you’re in a relationship with a person having a victim mentality, chances are they won’t take responsibility for their actions in the relationship. If there’s ever tension, it will be your fault. If there’s conflict, you’re the one to blame, not them. They won’t be open to being challenged about their sin—why would they? They’re innocent, and you’re guilty. Such a relationship is fraught and full of tension. Adopting a victim mentality is bad for us. And encouraging other people to adopt a victim mentality is bad for them. In fact, to the degree that we encourage victims to adopt a victim mentality, we do them ill.

A Better Way: Entrust Your Life to God While Doing Good
There’s a better way to live life than constantly blaming others for your challenges. There’s a better way to live than demanding others fix your situation. The Bible shows us this better way. But the secular world is coming to understand this as well. Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl discovered—amid the horrors of Auschwitz, no less—that no matter what our circumstances, we are response-able. As image-bearers of a creative God, we have personal agency: the ability to take initiative, to choose our response, and to act wisely no matter what we face. [3]And, although taking responsibility often means owning our sinful behavior and its impact on others, we can do this if we look to a Saviour who rescues us from the consequences of our sin. Or, in the words of the apostle Peter, writing to Christians suffering persecution: let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:19).

Now that’s a much better way to live.
If you would like your life to change in an instant, consider giving your life to Jesus Christ. Jesus died for you, me, and everyone who has ever been or will be on earth.

To learn more about this amazing God who gave His life so you may live, go to: https://www.asafeplaceonline.com/learn-more

“For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new creation. The old life is gone. New life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17


This article adapted from : https://au.thegospelcoalition.org/article/beware-the-dangers-of-a-victim-mentality/

A Safe Place Online

aSafePlaceOnline provides help and hope. It's free, safe, and private.
Chat anytime, from anywhere, about anything.