Beyond the obvious of:

  • Jesus died on the Cross and drank down God's wrath, what do we have to complain about?

  • All things that happen were things allowed by God to sanctify us.

  • Read the book of Job

what are some deep theological works on avoiding/fighting the victim mentality?

This is definitely a reference request in that I'm unable to extract this knowledge out of the Biblical verses myself, so I'm looking for a great theologian who has -- and reading their work.

In particular, I'm looking for something scripture based. I'm not looking for the prosperity gospel notion of "God wants you to be happy! To have your best life now! Smile! Be Happy! Yay! :-)!" rather I'm looking for something deep -- something that takes the "victim mentality", reduces it to the fundamental sins / thoughts that gives rise to the "victim mentality", and shows how to over come it.

Certainly, people like Martin Luther, David Brainerd, Dietrich Bonehoeffer, and others ... must have at times been tempted with "victim mentality" -- and surely some must have written about how they overcame it.

Lastly, if anyone had a right to claim to victim mentality -- it'd probably have to be Christ, who lived a perfect live and became the sacrificial lamb. Thus, if there's work on how Christ avoided the victim mentality, that'd be great too.

3 Answers 3


For some reason modern popular authors that deal with this subject are more of the autobiographical nature, such as Joni Eareckson Tada who has various books and lectures about taking joy in God's sovereignty, where she herself has been in a wheelchair for over thirty years.  Another person along the same line that I remember is Corrie ten Boom whose story of trying to love and evangelize people in Nazi concentration camp was published under the name'The Hiding Place'.  However, although these show great faith and lack of the victim mindset, they are not theological works but works of example.

As far as theological works go, there really are not many. Some might argue a famous work like 'The Christian in Complete Armour; A Treatise Of the Saints War against the Devil', By William Gernel is what you are looking for, and possibly it is. However, although many give this work very high reviews, I found it a little tiring to read and not really delving in the questions you are raising.  It might almost seem to veer slightly into a stoics approach to the 'warfare' of life.  It certainly leaves no room for a victim mentality, but still I would not say 'this is it'.

The only book I can think of that properly deals directly with the subject and is a classic, is Dr.  Martin-Lloyd Jones, 'Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure'.  The title is a little misleading because although it's been about twenty years since I read it, I remember it would depress a lot of people.  It spends some time showing that the gospel really has all we need to rejoice in our sufferings.  I do not remember it being stoical, but at the same time self-pity is not spared at all in this deep theological work.

  • Ha! My copy of "Spiritual Depression" just arrived yesterday (ordered it as part of study o holy spirit). Will have to bump up it's priority on reading list. Sep 2, 2012 at 18:54
  • @unregistered-matthew7.7 - Oh that is funny.
    – Mike
    Sep 2, 2012 at 22:52

Several spring to mind. In no particular order:

  1. Galatians 6:5: ...each one should carry their own load Principle: don't transfer your burdens to others.
  2. 2 Thessalonians 3:10: For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” Principle: (similar to above) don't rely on others hard work, earn your own way.
  3. Psalm 32:9 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Principle: think for yourself!
  4. Matthew 25:14-30 (Parable of the talents). One man just buried his talent instead of putting it to use, blaming God for it! Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ (Verses 24 & 25) Principle: don't blame others, take responsbility yourself!
  5. Finally, perhaps the best illustration, is in the first ever sin, recorded in Genesis 3. Relevant verses are 12 & 13: The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” The man blames the woman and God, and the woman blames the snake.* Principle: as above, take responsibility for your actions!

*As Nicky Gumbel then says, "And the snake didn't have a leg to stand on."

  • On a lighter note, sometimes men put on some weight after marrying, and seek to lay the blame on the great new cooked food they are enjoying... our nature has not changed since the beginning of creation... still blaming the women for what we eat. :) Sep 2, 2012 at 18:42

"God Wants You To Be Happy" by James Randall Robison. Good chapter on taking offense and victimhood. Also, "Happiness Is A Serious Problem" by Dennis Prager. Another good chapter on victimhood.

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