Posts Tagged ‘God’s promises’

Genesis 31:6-16 – HOW TO MAINTAIN A VICTIM MENTALITY

Maintaining or Overcoming a Victim Mentality. © Ross Cochrane

Maintaining or Overcoming a Victim Mentality. © Ross Cochrane

I AM A VICTIM

For over 20 years he has agreed to play the part of the victim. He is now trapped, his wheels condemned to running in the ruts of Laban’s tracks, with only limited influence over the direction of his life, especially his work situation.

I DESERVE SYMPATHY

For many years he has experienced the loss of vision believing that he has been harmed, the object of an injustice which initially violated his rights to marry the person he desired and then to make a living for his family. In his eyes he deserves sympathy. He has worked hard and has been cheated and lied to in return.

I BLAME OTHERS

In Genesis 31:6-7 (NLT) Jacob complains to his wives “You know how hard I have worked for your father, but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times…” He blames Laban but Jacob has also acquiesced, passively accepting the demands of a bully.

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE

Until now he fails to take responsibility for his own actions. His paranoia that Laban is the source of all his failure is a form of negativity that has kept him focused on the problems. In the end he has been a victim by choice, behaving as if it was his destiny that dealt him a disservice.

Laban had wronged him in all kinds of ways and of course Jacob can recall them all in detail to his wives (Genesis 31:5-6). This tape has been running in his head for years. It has been part of the soundtrack of being a victim. It is always someone else’s fault; Esau, his father, Laban, Laban’s sons, his wives. Everywhere he turns something goes wrong and there’s always someone else to blame. Laban deceived him. Laban changed his wages 10 times.

JOIN ME IN MY MISERY

As he talks with his wives they also begin to focus on the problems. He plays the martyr. Misery loves company and his wives start to play the game. They can also see the blameworthiness of their father and they are indignant. Laban is out to get them also.

In Genesis 31:15-16 (NLT) Jacob’s wives say “He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. And after he sold us, he wasted the money you paid him for us. All the wealth God has given you from our father legally belongs to us and our children….”

Will Jacob continue to engineer opportunities and attitudes in his own life to ensure that he will remain a victim? He has been stuck for so long that he is not sure what it will look like to fly. An intelligent innovator, nothing is really holding Jacob back except his fear of Laban and his victim mentality.

I SET MYSELF UP TO BE A VICTIM

I wonder if Jacob was secretly hoping Laban would come after him and validate that he was a victim (Genesis 31:22-28). Perhaps then he can retaliate and give Laban some of his own medicine or become locked again into being bullied by Laban. “Life is so unfair! Why does it always keep happening to me?” What would he do without Laban to dictate what happens in his life? 

By not telling Laban of his plans to leave, he is inviting trouble and provoking punitive action. Rachel helps by taking one of the household gods just to make sure there’s a possibility of failure and subconsciously sabotage their success. She can always blame Jacob for wanting to leave and she knows it’s a way of hurting her father.

Are they really ready to break free from their self-destructive cycle? Are you? If Jacob decides to act on what God has said what would it look like in their lives? What will it look like in yours?

Genesis 31:1-18 – HOW TO OVERCOME A VICTIM MENTALITY 

“Focusing is about saying No” (Steve Jobs).

I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

In Genesis 31:3,5 (NLT) the Lord says to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.” Jacob says to his wives “God of my father has been with me.” His speech is now peppered with hope. His wives agree “So go ahead and do whatever God has told you.”

Laban is a bully but in the end it is Jacob who has been responsible for his own disappointment. In Genesis 31:7-9 (NLT) Jacob admits that “God has not allowed him to do me any harm.” He says to his wives “God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me.” He’s not talking about stealing them but about the success of building up his own livestock in the deals he has made with Laban.

It’s no longer Laban’s fault. Nor is it the fault of Laban’s sons who are criticising him and lying about him (Genesis 31:1,2). He doesn’t have to be a victim anymore. There are no excuses left. No deceptive defences, nowhere to go but towards God’s promise. He has been blessed whether he likes it or not.

20 years have passed and he is getting old. There is no more room for self-pity. He will take responsibility for his life and family or continue to drown in his sorrows.

I BELIEVE IN GOD’S PROMISE

God gives us a choice to really live, and invites us all to take responsibility and move toward our destiny. God will not be Jacob’s rescuer in the sense of doing it all for him, but will give him the perspective of eternity so that he can make some decisions and not stagnate in his own misery. He is spiritually dysfunctional until he takes action to leave.

I REFUSE TO BE A VICTIM

Taking responsibility will mean he loses the fringe benefits credit card that comes free for everyone applying to be a victim. He has to hand in his licence to feel sorry for himself and he won’t be able to cash in on sympathy and offers of help from others anymore. “I am a victim of a bully! Can’t you feel sorry for me?” won’t cut it in the promised land. Will he continue making deals with Laban the Abuser instead of taking the opportunities God presents to him?

There will be no excuse left for not pursuing God’s promises. Nowhere to hide anymore. No-one to blame, no avoidance from taking a risk. This time instead of his mother it is up to him to be the hero who rescues himself and his family. They will have to abandon victimhood.

So Jacob puts his wives and children on camels, and he drives all his livestock in front of him. He packs all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and sets out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lives (Genesis 31:17-18).

I INVITE YOU ON MY JOURNEY

The invitation Jacob gives us is to throw off martyrhood and uncover the mystery of our identity, to throw off the yoke of slavery and find our independence. God has given us His promises but He is not going to simply hand it to us on a plate. We will have to take responsibility and be proactive to appropriate His promises by faith. There may be a few anxious moments along the way. 

Being honest with myself doesn’t come easy. It wasn’t easy for Jacob. But God has empowered him with a promise which demands he gives up being a victim. 

When he faces Laban there must come a sense of letting go of the resentment, any feelings of revenge, and consider forgiveness. They will need to come to some kind of agreement to make it work (Genesis 31:44-55). 

He is now on an adventure and who knows where it will lead. Will Laban come after him? Will victimhood pursue him? Will it pursue you? How can I give up being a victim? The death and resurrection of Christ is the supreme example of how to appropriate victory over victimhood. I choose to die to Victimhood and live to the Creative journey of life and purpose by embracing Christ as my Lord and Saviour. His victory becomes mine. I am a Victor not a Victim.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) says “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  

Pastor Ross

Part 4 – Genesis 18:16-30 – JUST PASSING BY AND SAW YOUR LIGHT ON …

Saw Your Light On...

He slipped away into eternity peacefully the other day as we stood by his bed. The family and I held hands and prayed as an old man who loved the Lord and loved his family was in that moment absent from the body and present with the Lord. Peace and tears filled the room and I noticed one young woman held a baby in her hands. The next generation to be blessed in this Godly family.

How empty it seemed as I stand by the bed of other families who do not know the Lord. Emptiness fills the room and there was no eternal legacy or light shining for another generation to walk in. The contrast is stark and I feel the uneasy tension of those who have rejected God and do not want to talk to a Pastor.

So it is even more sobering as I read about these men in Genesis 18 were on their way to Sodom to visit those who had rejected God! Sodom would be destroyed.

So why did they stop off at Abraham’s place first? Just passing by, saw your light on and thought we would drop in? Lord, let me have that kind of light, but what was the point of eating a meal with Abraham and then going on? Why didn’t they just head towards Sodom straight away?

The only thing I can think of is that God passes my way when I respond positively towards Him and His Word. And as He gets closer, He TESTS MY RESPONSE to Him. He is always concerned with RELATIONSHIP.

When three strangers came to visit him, I don’t think Abraham knew that one of them was the Lord Himself. Abraham greets them with true Eastern hospitality. His response to strangers was to address their leader with respect. Abraham calls Him “LORD”, he bows to the ground in the posture the same as WORSHIP, He SERVES Him humbly and personally. And when he prepares a meal for Him there is a SACRIFICE involved.

Reminds me a little of Matthew 25:34-40 which speaks of when we die and stand before Jesus. It says we will say “…‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ ‘And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!'”

Hospitality and respect certainly wasn’t the kind of greeting these strangers received in Sodom! BIG CONTRAST between Abraham’s greeting and how Sodom responded to the presence of the Lord’s messengers. OUR RESPONSE TO THE LORD DETERMINES OUR DESTINY.

But I see another important principle here. When my response to God is one of WORSHIP, SERVICE, AND SACRIFICE, then and only then am I ready to begin to learn what HIS WILL for my life is. I will look for the opportunities He gives me to be a BLESSING TO OTHERS, to THINK GENERATIONALLY. I will accept God’s GRACE AND HIS JUSTICE, HIS PROMISES AND PRONOUNCEMENTS and they will begin to make sense to me in the enormous scheme of things. I will even understand what it means when God says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23 NLT) and I will begin to see the BIG PICTURE OF FORGIVENESS BASED ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS.

This same principle of understanding God’s will is summed up in Romans 12:1-3. It says…

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. THEN you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

As Abraham worships, serves and is willing to sacrifice the best to God, God says “SHOULD I HIDE MY PLAN FROM ABRAHAM?” the Lord asked. “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be BLESSED THROUGH HIM. I have singled him out so that he will DIRECT HIS SONS AND THEIR FAMILIES to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” (Genesis 18:17-19 NLT)

God bless you Church as you respond positively to God’s Word and the message of the Cross. As you worship, serve and sacrifice the best to God, may you know His good and perfect will for your life today.

Pastor Ross