The special word for this article is idée fixe. It’s fun to pronounce and regular usage can elevate your appearance of intelligence at least two full grade levels (if you’re like me, you need all the help you can get). It means, “A fixed idea”, a compulsion or one-track mind.
The Victim Mentality
Nothing holds someone back more than seeing themselves as a victim. Why? Because a victim is not responsible for his situation. Everything is someone else’s fault, and the victim sees little chance of improving his life. After all, how can you get ahead if someone is holding you back? This leaves the victim frustrated, angry and unhappy. Over time, victimhood becomes their defining identity. “Hello, my name is _________” (And I’m a victim!” screams their thought cloud). I call this idée fixe, victimology.
According to Taleeb Starkes and Kevin Jackson (popular black authors), many black communities preach this victimology. Many black parents pass it on to their children, many schools teach it to their students, and the black media and entertainment reinforce it. People like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton fundraise money on this idée fixe. A LOT of money.
Victimology also leads to the ultimate stage of absurdity where we hold people responsible for things that happened before they were born, while other people are not held responsible for things that they are doing today.
This may surprise you, but victimology is actually a form of pride. In biblical counseling circles, we call this hidden pride. Hidden pride is when someone goes through life thinking “Poor me. Someone has hurt me.” And I’m not going to open my heart to anyone because I might get hurt again. And forgiveness? Forget that!” I’ll forgive when they make everything right!” Demands ensue, and those demands lead to more demands which leads to more demands. You get the picture.
And there’s a big problem here. Listen, friend. People can’t make everything right. We can’t go through life demanding that people only do and say things that we like. They tried this in Jesus’ day and He rebuked them for it, calling them immature children
They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: 'We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry' (Luke 7:32).
As believers, we want to be spiritual adults and true adulthood comes when we yield to the principles of heaven. You wanna be happy? It requires two things (at least):
- Don’t be a victim
- Forgive people who have genuinely wronged you, and make a distinction between true guilt and false guilt.
Forgiveness is costly. Forgiveness always means someone pays the price for another person's failure(s). This is what Jesus did when He went to the cross with your million sins (and mine) and paid for each one. Wonderful Redeemer!
Forgiveness of others is not forgiving sin. There is One who forgives sin, and it isn't us. Forgiving others is being willing to pay the price for the pain they caused us. Their wrong affronted the Almighty Righteous God of the universe, and inflicted pain on us. God will deal with their sin; we have to deal with the pain. Again, we deal with it biblically by choosing to pay, to absorb within ourselves, the price of the pain they caused. When we do this, we are walking a special path – a path created by our Savior. He helps us to throw away the bitter note of debt that we have been hanging onto, like the idée fixe of blaming people for things that happened before they were born.
Tip: If we haven't accepted God's forgiveness in the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ, we cannot walk the special path of forgiveness. Indeed, Jesus warns that if we don't forgive others, God won't forgive us (Matthew 6:9–15). That means that today is the day of forgiveness, and forgiveness breaks the power of victimology, replacing it with something much better. Gratitude and joy!
What? Me Apologize?
On the evening of September 23, 2016, I attended a meeting in the Youth Chapel at Pioneer Church. The meeting was titled Repairing the Breach. The presenter was Michael Nixon from New Jersey.
He opened the meeting with the assumption that just as Climate Change is caused by human activity, racial problems in the church are the result of human activity as well (while I reject the assumptions of [CAGW] Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, I do agree that if there are racial problems between humans, they would likely be human-caused). The speaker then provided a list of transgressions (going back to 1889) where the (presumably white) church has oppressed black members. His solution is that the church needs to confess its racial sins. That means that whites need to confess that they have wronged blacks and ask for their forgiveness. This is a popular theme in our current culture—arising from the idée fixe of grievance politics. He (Nixon) said the SDA church is presenting a false gospel to the world until it confesses its racial sins and admits its wrongs.
Now I’m all for confession and forgiveness, when it goes both ways. People who callously hurt others need to see themselves as God sees them, and find compassion. But something is missing here! Conspicuously absent from Michael Nixon’s call for our Church to apologize is any humility on his part. It goes something like this "I know I have contributed to frustration in these matters. Would you forgive me? Our people have contributed to the problem--through bitterness towards our white brethren. Would you be willing to forgive us?” That kind of spirit can resolve anything. But it can’t happen in the presence of victimology.
In the 200-plus marriage counseling cases that God has brought to Nancy & I over the last 14-years, I have yet to see a case where it’s all one person’s fault. I have seen numerous cases where a problem lies in the wrong attitude of a spouse, but there will also be issues on the other spouse’s side. Both of them need to resolve their issues, starting by repenting of their pride, whether the hidden or obvious kind. Pride and bitterness are the two greatest causes of relationship discord. Together, they are the catalyzed fuel of victimology. A couple that you cannot help is where one of them says “It’s all their fault!”
Tip. People tend to exaggerate their pain. We should expect this, and not argue with them when they “lay it on too thick.” Just listen to them and ask God to reveal the root cause of their pain. Ask them, "What would your life look like if you allowed Jesus to bring healing to that pain?” Do you want to carry this burden around for the rest of your life, or would you like to be free from it?”
Lack of Diversity
In this age of Social Justice Ideology flowing into the church we will hear repeated demands for an honest dialogue or debate about race. But how can there ever be an honest dialogue between blacks and whites when there is virtually no honest dialogue between blacks and blacks? It’s hypocritical. For example, if a black person doesn’t think whites are ultimately responsible for black people’s problems, they are labelled a “Sellout, an Uncle Tom, or race traitor.” As long as this kind of groupthink exists, race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will continue to be celebrated, while independent black thinkers such as Thomas Sowell, Herman Cain, and Walter E. Williams will be shunned. The honest race dialogue that first has to happen is not between blacks and whites, but between blacks and blacks. We cannot demand diversity from others while refusing to practice it ourselves where it really matters. As mother said, “Before you go out to rebuild the world, have you learned how to clean up your own bedroom?”
I will probably be called a racist by some people for writing this article. I don’t mind. I know better. I love black people, and can’t imagine our church without them. I love their sense of humor, and energy. We have counseled between 30 – 40 black couples in an attempt to help them find oneness and freedom in their marriages and opened our home to each of them. I have noticed that their heart and blood is the same color as everyone else, subject to the same conditions of life, and the same biblical principles of righteousness.
So far, we have discussed Victimology, Bitterness, Pride, and Lack of Diversity. Perhaps later we can discuss progressive tribal voting, urban terrorism and the proliferation of broken families. You may have noticed that racism did not make my list in this article. Why not? It’s simple. There will be no solutions to the problems afflicting black America until more blacks recognize that many of the issues plaguing their communities are ultimately self-inflicted. Does racism exist? Sure. But there are other problems far more serious. And waiting until there are no more racists will mean waiting and making excuses forever.
Way down, past the rancor of bitterness and the self-focus of hidden pride there is a level field that all of us can meet on. It is the foot of the Cross. We are safe there. We are free to live, to love and forgive there. Here we find true freedom, provided by the Ultimate Victim. Our Jesus.