The Antidote to Mental Poison
How to take responsibility and turn your life around

Millions of people in the world around you have ingested mental poison. Their damaged minds are strangled by bitterness, hopelessness, and negativity. These poor people have been saturated with the worldly propaganda of victim culture.

Here’s how these people think: Everyone is out to get me. I don’t have the resources or the talent to succeed. I have no control over my life because society is rigged against me. If I can’t be happy, then no one else should be allowed to be happy either.

The mentally poisoned of this world will blame everyone but themselves for their failures: their country, law enforcement, rich people, other races, men, Christians, their boss, their teachers, their parents, and more. People who think they can’t support themselves look to mommy government for help.

This victim mindset is at the core of destructive ideologies like socialism, communism, and Marxism. This tyrannical form of government is responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people. Fake victims create real victims.

We may look at the victim culture around us and shake our heads in disgust, but it is easy for anyone to become a fake victim. Your Bible says that most of us have to overcome this crippling mindset. Most of us have allowed worldly victim culture to rub off on us in some way.

We must come out of this world’s victim culture.

“The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets” (Proverbs 22:13). The human mind is masterful at concocting imaginary lions—excuses for shirking personal responsibility.

In an article titled “Conquer Your Lions,” Brad Macdonald exposed some of these imaginary lions: a supposed lack of time to take care of our priorities, physical sickness or weakness that is exaggerated to justify inactivity, character flaws, intellectual inferiority, subpar reading skills, a speech impediment, shyness that precludes building friendships, and many more.

Essentially, imaginary lions are warning signs of a victim mentality. More warning signs include: saying things like “I can’t” or “It’s not my fault,” feeling powerless and helpless, talking about your negative life experiences to get attention, constantly putting yourself down, and feeling cheated—as if someone else stole an opportunity from you.

Ask God to help you examine yourself. Ask your parents, your minister, your counselors, your teachers, or even your close friends if they have noticed a need for you to improve in this area. It is highly likely that we all exhibit at least one of these warning signs of a victim mentality.

Imaginary lions must be conquered and driven out of our minds, but there is also a real lion to fight. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8).

“Satan is subtle,” Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote in The Epistles of Peter—A Living Hope. “He has different messages for different people—he knows our weaknesses and how to attack us specifically.” If any imaginary lions are allowed to hang around in your life, Satan will use them to overwhelm you!

Satan wants us to be excuse makers, responsibility avoiders, prolific complainers, and professional fake victims. What is God’s view?

Joel Hilliker writes in a 2016 Philadelphia Trumpet article entitled “Take Responsibility”:

Maturing means you move from deflecting blame to accepting responsibility. You move from being a passive observer to an initiator. You move from victim to doer. You move from expecting things to providing things. Maturing means seizing your God-given power to direct your own life, to welcome challenge, to surmount obstacles, to achieve victories.

Blaming other people for your problems is a trap. Of course other people’s actions affect you, but don’t deceive yourself. God says the person who is responsible for you is you. “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden” (Galatians 6:4-5). You must carry your own load. In fact, God wants you to go beyond that, and to reach out to help others carry their burden as well (verse 2).

“[W]hatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (verse 7). If you don’t like what you’re reaping, take a hard look at what you’ve been sowing. And start making some changes.

God is radically pro-responsibility!

In God’s Church, victim status is completely worthless. In the world, victim status is highly valuable.

An actor will risk his career to stage a maga-hate-crime hoax at 2 a.m. in Chicago—not exactly a Trump stronghold. A man will pretend to be a woman, absolutely crush real women in women’s sports, then claim victim status the moment anyone criticizes him. A racecar driver will see a noose in his stall and call in the feds, only to be told that the rope is actually a garage-door pull found at every racetrack. An actress will fake being abducted.

Fake victims are living in fantasyland.

God admonishes us to put away the distraction of imaginary lions and go on the offensive against the real lion. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Resist the devil with God’s help, and he will flee like a coward!

Here are the four C’s for resisting Satan’s victim mentality.

1. Conquer procrastination.

Making excuses is a serious problem for fake victims. As Mr. Macdonald pointed out in “Conquer Your Lions,” procrastination only gives the mind more time to develop an excuse.

“The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason” (Proverbs 26:16). The fake victim is usually deeply deluded by his ridiculous excuses. He is convinced his imaginary lions are real. He considers himself wiser than seven actual wise men.

Start your intimidating tasks immediately. Brainstorm a paper topic the very day you find out about the assignment. The next day, read a few articles about the topic. Set manageable deadlines throughout the process so you consistently progress toward the end goal.

Pounce on your homework or chores at the first opportunity—without your parents reminding you. This produces the added benefit of earning your parents’ trust.

When we procrastinate, responsibilities become 100 times bigger in our minds. A simple set of 10 vocabulary cards becomes an unbearable burden that costs us precious sleep the night before the due date. A paper becomes a 300-page book. A quiz on Act 3 of Julius Caesar might as well cover all the subjects in the known universe. Scripture memorization becomes the literal end of the world.

Procrastination creates imaginary lions. The temptation to flee personal responsibility becomes overwhelming. We become irritated with the person who gave us the responsibility, as if we didn’t possess ample time and ability to complete it if we had just started right away. We begin to feel helpless and wonder if we should request a deadline extension. We reason that we just didn’t have enough time.

(Side point: Don’t brag about procrastination. You’re only admitting to being conquered by an imaginary lion.)

2. Count your blessings.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3). Spiritual blessings abound in your life: the influence of God’s Holy Spirit, God’s law, God’s government, God’s truth, and God’s spiritual family.

When we obey God’s law, He promises to flood us with all kinds of blessings (Malachi 3:10). He desires to grant our desires (Psalm 37:4).

“Certainly a lack of gratitude is one of the most prevalent, if not the most terrible, of sins,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote. “Few have learned to really appreciate what they have. Most are prone to accept the good things by taking them for granted, failing to give thanks. We gripe about our complaints more than we count our blessings” (April 1962 Plain Truth Personal).

Ingratitude led to Lucifer’s rebellion. God gave him the Earth and would have given him the universe, but that just wasn’t enough. Lucifer wanted more—and he wanted it now.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like the fake victims in our society? They are so ungrateful that no amount of money or mansions will satisfy them—they still feel oppressed by the ‘system’ somehow.

Be thankful! In prayer, thank God for your blessings before asking for even more blessings (Philippians 4:6).

3. Create opportunities.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). It never hurts to express interest in an opportunity or to declare yourself available to help wherever needed. God promises to bless those who ask.

Not asking can actually foster a victim mentality. We might start to feel passed up for opportunities when all we had to do was speak up.

Start at home. Figure out what your parents need help with, then make yourself available. Fulfill those responsibilities, and you will be rewarded with bigger and more exciting ones.

Extend this to your congregation. Boys, volunteer to serve on setup or sound at services. Girls, volunteer to help with snacks and flowers.

Always remember to master the responsibilities you already have before asking for more (Luke 16:10). Take on new responsibilities, then do your part, on-time, every time.

Study 1 Samuel 17. The young David created the opportunity to slay Goliath. He barged into the Israelite war camp and declared himself available. He did not hesitate when King Saul chose him to fight. Not only did David kill Goliath, but he ran to the fight. He longed for the challenge. He knew God would fight the battle for him. This is the kind of eagerness we all need.

4. Compare yourself to Christ only.

Our goal is to become perfect like God the Father (Matthew 5:48). Our standard is Jesus Christ. We should not compare ourselves with others in the God Family since God has placed each of us where it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 12:18).

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith …” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Jesus Christ is the greatest spiritual runner of all time. He has already completed the race. As we run our spiritual race, we must lock in on Christ and the finish line, not anxiously glancing side to side at our fellow runners. If we compare ourselves to Christ only, we will finish the race.

Submit to God. Follow Him into battle each day. Eliminate imaginary lions. Chase the devil away. Resist the victim mentality by conquering procrastination, counting your blessings, creating opportunities, and comparing yourself to Christ only. Only then will you experience peace of mind and true freedom.