Note: This is the second in a three-part series. For part one, click here.
In dealing with an enemy, most of us prefer to “take them out” before they can “take us out.” When we are injured, we usually avenge ourselves by retaliating in some way, then justify our reaction because of what they did to us.
In Matthew 5 Jesus introduces the response of an individual who exercises Zero Victim Mentality. If someone strikes you, don’t strike back. If they sue you, don’t countersue. If you have been forced into manual labor, don’t rebel.
This response would be considered weak, irrational, and even insane in today’s culture. From childhood we learn to defend ourselves and never allow anyone to take advantage of us.
Jesus teaches potential victims how to take control of their situation—by first changing our mentality. The first two lessons we learned were to: 1. Not take revenge; and 2. Love your enemies, both of which were talked about in Tuesday’s post.
Here is the next lesson:
3. Treat people the way you want to be treated. To develop a Zero Victim Mentality you must spend quality time thinking about how you want people to treat you. Would you like to be treated with respect? Kindness? Mercy? As you formulate these preferred standards for yourself, Jesus taught that you must first implement them in your treatment of others.
Oftentimes, people mistreat others because they never considered how they would like to be treated. When you live with a Zero Victim Mentality, you define the standards for your relationships. Once these standards have been defined, your objective is to place others before you. You cannot become a victim because you have removed yourself from the equation. The Golden Rule negates victim mentality by shifting your focus toward serving others instead of contemplating your own pain. Ultimately, victim mentality is an expression of self-centeredness.
Following the example of Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit we have new objectives and we are able to live a life that honors Christ becoming living expressions of the gospel.
James E. Ward founded INSIGHT Church in the North Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois and serves as senior pastor. In his new book, Zero Victim, Ward shares a universal principle that has fueled his success in every area of life. He and his wife Sharon have been married for fifteen years and have two wonderful children, Hannah and Jonathan. For more information visit www.ZeroVictim.com.