The Church and Victim Mentality

"Victim Mentality" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Description: Sheep going to slaughter. One says to another, "Frankly, I'm sick and tired of your victim mentality!"

The Church and a Victim Mentality

(Victims are real, including of the Church. This isn’t about that but the victim mentality.)

I claim the Church nurtures a victim mentality:

Suffering: The cross, suffering servant, and lambs to the slaughter were concepts I embraced. This stuck with me through my ministry. It still echoes. It’s fatalistic. It views affliction as inevitable, desirable, and deserved. The result is you should always turn the other cheek and never stand up for yourself or fight back. In fact, any effort to change your situation is selfish.

Humiliation: We were taught that we are broken sinners, weak, and needing to be rescued. We’re trained to believe that we should be so dependent on God that we have no will, no power, and no voice. Many say this is the most perfect way. We’re tools for God to use when God wants. Independence is rebellion. The “poor me” posture is an effective way for the Church to keep us ashamed before God, before the pastor, before the church, and before the world.

Helplessness: Because suffering, servitude, and submission carry such currency in the Church, it feels no need to help us to be empowered. Being “more than conquerers” is only for controlling our sinful nature, not for living confidently in every area of our lives. The Church trains us to be helpless and dependent.

Nelson Mandela said, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my destiny.” This is a bold declaration to fully participate in our life rather than surrender it to fate, to circumstances, or to the will of another.

You have the power!
You have the right to change your life!
You can be independent!

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