Here are my notes from last week’s Reaching the Unreached conference, probably the best Christian conference I’ve been on. If you weren’t there, the videos will be posted on the RTU blog. As with all my conference notes, these are not verbatim, so what I wrote might not be what Duncan Forbes actually said.
Duncan Forbes – Possessing victim mentality
Instruments in the redeemer’s hands – the only book which understood me. Took the church through it.
Biblical womanhood – Sharon James – Good, biblical study, practical, DVD – women in church watch it and the church is getting sorted. Pastor – read the book it will make you want to be a biblical woman.
Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden. God is good and generous. Adam and Eve rebel against God’s goodness and generosity, neglect the tree of life and instead disobey by eating the fruit of the tree they were commanded not to eat from.
The Lord, the Covenant God, the God who makes pacts with people, agreements. Adam stabbed God in the back, teamed up with the devil. His first response was “I was afraid, I hid. My circumstances were bad” and his first response was “poor me.” Not “I have victimised God.”
V11 – who told you that you were naked? The woman told me. He put the blame on his wife. He won’t own up. Men, we blame our wives for problems. We blame our kids. When we trip over the kids toys, we shout our wife’s name. When we say sorry after a barny we say “I’m sorry…..but you.”
V12 Adam said “You put the woman here. You don’t understand how hard it is to leave here with a woman like the one you gave me.” Adam would not take responsibility for his victimising God. He shifted the blame to God. “You dealt my cards God, look at them, you put that woman in my life, I’ve had a hard life, you put me in these circumstances.”
V13 – Eve “the serpent deceived me.” She passes the buck, down the line. Victim mentality. This does not come from a council estate. It comes from the fall, Adam. It’s not a street problem, council estate problem. We all have problems with victim mentality. We can think like this “we don’t have the resources, we need someone to do something.”
On council estates victim mentality is seen as acceptable, it’s the norm. Not exclusively, but to speak about being victims is the culture. It’s like wearing sunglasses, tinting everything we see. I am the victim and other people are victimisers. Someone comes to church and feels looked down on and will never come back to church. A single mum will be told she’s done a great job with her kids and she’ll say “what are you saying? Do you think I wasn’t going to do a good job. I’ll show you and I’m never coming back to church.”
I am a victim, I’ve had a hard life, so I am allowed to sin. The council is rubbish, the police are no use, the teachers at school let me down, therefore I am like this and I can do this because of the system. Victim mentality tells us that we can blame other people and not deal with our sins.
Victim mentality says “look after number one, no one else will look after you. Protect yourself. Be hard. Have your defences in place.” But victim mentality will not protect you on the day of judgement, you will be held account by God for your sin.” So women start hardening themselves. The pretty girls at school look 15 years older than they are because they have been badly treated and have put up the hard shutters of victim mentality.
We forget that we have victimised others but above all we’ve victimised God.
Possessing victim mentality.
We all have it. Given title of seminar “confronting victim mentality.” but changed because if we “confront” something we set ourselves up as the ones with the solution and others with the problem. But we all have the problem and Jesus has the solution.
How do we possess victim mentality for non-Christians?
1. Acknowledge the pain and victimisation, empathise. Once possessed turn it to God. God was stabbed in the back by Adam and when Adam was languishing in his own mess, God didn’t slap him, he made a sacrifice and covered the mess. God of grace.
2. Then tell them about Jesus, the ultimate victim. No one was more victimised than Jesus. Isaiah 53 The wonderful Saviour who was the ultimate victim and he never responded in a sinful way.
3. He is the victim because we are the victimisers. So tell them that they are also the victimisers, who would have killed Christ if he was here now. Repent and believe. Repent of being a victimiser and believe you have been rescued from being a victim.
I am an expert of victim mentality, to my shame. The bible opened my eyes to what I needed to repent of. So how can we disciple new Christians who have victim mentality?
Get people to get the category of victim mentality. Go to the garden of Eden and talk about what it is. Then go to Joseph (I’ve got nothing on Job)
Gen 45 – come close to me [is he going to shank them?] Do not be distressed. Don’t worry. Chill. Don’t be angry with yourselves. God did this to preserve lives. God did it. The was a purpose, a difference reason to the reason you sent me. Joseph did this for a purpose. Joseph didn’t know what that purpose was for years.
Gen 50 – the brothers were worried that Joseph would now get his revenge. He said “Am I in the place of God.” God will sort it Romans 12:21. We are not to have victim mentality by taking matters into our own hands. God will take the ball.
Teach people about Saul – he’s loaded with victim mentality.
1 Samuel 13. Saul offered burnt sacrifices when he was not allowed to.
Samuel asked “What have you done?”
Saul “Blames the men and then he blamed Samuel and then he blamed the Philistines. I did it because I had to. He did not acknowledge that he’d sinned against God.
Two chapters later, 1 Samuel 15 Saul sets up a statue, monument to himself. He wanted respect. Everyone wants respect. Saul wanted respect. Saul’s got issues.
Samuel – “What is this bleating of sheep in my ears?”
Saul “The soldiers….” Saul shifts the blame.
Samuel “why did you not obey the Lord?”
Saul “I have sinned, but please honour me…” Give me respect.
In troubles in the community we think that there is an issue which needs sorting, a dispute to be resolved. At the heart, someone feels that they are not being respected. He’s not showing me respect.
Saul is so bitter and twisted he goes on trying to kill David, his victim mentality has made him believe that he can sin with impunity because he is the victim. He is mentally ill and this might be the source of his illness.
Ezekiel 18. The government has messed up, we get the consequences. The bankers have messed up, we get it in the neck. The council can’t run the place, we suffer.
On judgement day you will be judged for what you have done, not what other people have done.
Jonah – he has victim mentality. He has been hurt by the Ninevites and will not trust them or love them but is suspicious of them and only wants them to be judged. People who are hurt have victim mentality like Jonah.
When Paul in prison he looks to Jesus
2 Corinthians 10:4 – the weapon of victim mentality, pumped into our living room by Oprah, does not work. People spend years in prison for crimes committed in bitterness, victim mentality, refusing to repent but continuing to blame others, the system, the world,God, ageing early, bitter and stressed. But the weapons of our warfare are powerful. We take thoughts captive and take them before the Lord.
FE college. Ghetto mentality. Then I went to Oak Hill. People walked past chatting and blanked me. I wanted to shake hands. I felt like a victim. What’s going on? Take the bad thought captive. Take it hostage. This is cultural not personal. The lack of acknowledgement does not mean I am not respected.
Duncan Forbes blogs at Council Estate Christianity.