5. Self-victimization

When we allow emotional pain to build up over the years, it will eventually begin to dominate our thoughts. A cloud of sadness and sorrow builds up over our heads, and we begin to indulge in feelings of sadness, helplessness, and self-pity. We are unable to understand God’s truth that we are “more than conquerors” through Christ. Instead, we ask “Why me?” in a cry for comfort, affirmation, and attention. We focus on our pain and ignore the presence of God. Sadly, self-victimisation is one of many forms of idolatry.

Romans 8:37-39 ESV  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 73:25-26 ESV  Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

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4. Self-condemnation

God did not create human beings to punish and accuse us. Yet when we fail to meet the standards we have set for ourselves, we can start to punish ourselves with self-accusing thoughts. We believe lies such as “I am making this mistake again, I am incorrigible and hopeless.”

Jesus came to redeem all our broken and imperfect parts so that we are able to flourish and live a full life. He did not come to condemn us. No perfect Father condemns a child who stumbles as he or she is learning something new. This is also why He gives us His Holy Spirit to live inside us; so He can personally guide us. We bring God glory when we persist in following His Spirit, not when we condemn ourselves.

John 3:17 ESV  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

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3. Pride

Pride is a misguided sense of ourselves. It compares us with other people and says, “I’m different, I’m unique, I’m special. There is no one else like me.” In a rather twisted way, we can even magnify our painful experiences and tell ourselves that our pains are “superior” to others, and believe that no one will understand what we have been through. God’s Word says that there is nothing new under the sun. We all go through similar emotional turmoils.

Proverbs 13:10 NIV  Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

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2. Shame

Our magnificent Creator is able to make all things new.

Isaiah 43:19 ESV  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

When we misunderstand God’s faithful love for us, it is easy to give in to shame and feel bad about who we are or have become. Shame is a dark hole that keeps us from moving forward. We believe lies such as, “I need to hide this part of me”. We remain trapped in spiritual darkness until we decide to walk out of it to seek help and counsel. God, in His infinite generosity, promises to remove our dishonour and fill us with double portions of His goodness and joy. He rewards us when we walk out of the darkness of our shame into His light.

Isaiah 61:7 ESV  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

Isaiah 50:7 ESV  But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

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What these lies are built on

These five lies have such potency to keep us locked up into spiritual strongholds, because they are built around a few key human weaknesses.

1. Fear

Past pain and disappointment teach us to fear. We worry that God will let us down, just like other people have. Out of fear, we equate our perfect God with imperfect people.

God’s Word tells us that fear is not from God. When we put down our fears and allow God to gently bring us out from our graveyard of emotions, we will experience His perfect healing, restoration, and redemption in deeply nourishing ways.

1 John 4:18 ESV  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

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5. “Even if anyone knows, no one can help me.”

Jesus died to exchange His perfect life for all our imperfections, including our pain and grief. He can and will relieve us of our emotional pains when we give Him our burdens. He knows exactly what we need. Not only has He witnessed everything we have gone through, He is always ready to support us as we submit to Him. He is our perfect Saviour, He never grows tired of helping us.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV  For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him…

Isaiah 40:28 ESV  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

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4. “Even if I confess my pain, I may still be rejected.”

God will never reject us when we cry out to Him for help. In fact, He is so kind, gentle, compassionate and humble that He knocks on the door of our hearts and asks to be allowed in. Even if our loved ones reject us, God will receive us.

Romans 10:11,13 ESV  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Revelation 3:20 ESV  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Psalm 27:10-11 ESV  For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.

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3. “No one cares.”

Embedded into every human being is a deep need to find meaning in life. Burning questions such as “Do I matter?”, “Am I wanted?” and “Do you care?” drive us to look for our value, meaning and significance, particularly from our family of origin. This is also what drives adopted children to tirelessly search for their biological parents, even when they are dearly loved by their adopted parents.

God’s Word reminds us not to look to any human being for perfect loving care. Only God is the perfect role model for both fatherly and motherly love. Only God can show us our significance because He is the One who created us. In His eyes, we are precious, no matter what we may have done.

Isaiah 49:15 ESV  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Psalm 103:13 ESV  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

God cares intensely for us. He painstakingly and intricately designed us as we were in our mother’s womb. Every single detail of our lives has never escaped His notice. He will always help us through difficulties if we go to Him for wisdom and counsel. We will only feel like no one cares for us because we try to define our value through other imperfect human beings, rather than through God. Only God can give us perfect, deep, and eternal restoration. All other sources can only offer us temporary relief.

Psalm 139:13-14 ESV  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV  Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

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2. “No one understands my pain.”

No one chooses to suffer. Yet God chose to suffer terribly as He took on our sins. We will never be alone in our pain and grief. Jesus understands our pain intensely. For our sake, He willingly suffered torture, humiliation, injustice, rejection, betrayal, abandonment, thirst, hunger, grief, and more. Jesus empathises with every pain that we hold onto.

Isaiah 53:3 ESV  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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1. “I am all alone.”

It is virtually impossible to be alone, spiritually. God’s Spirit is everywhere, we cannot escape Him no matter what we do. He is the One who holds life in this universe together. Without His life-giving presence in all of us, we would merely collapse into a heap of dead carbon matter. The fact is, we are never alone, even when we retreat into our dark inner worlds and ignore or reject Him. He is right here, even as we read this post.

Psalm 139:7-8 ESV  Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

Job 33:4 ESV  The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Colossians 1:17 ESV  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

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