What’s your mentality: victim or a student?

By Judy Jackson

As we approach the week of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, it might be easy to take for granted the immense sacrifice the Son of God made on our behalf. I mean, we’ve got the Bible. We know how the story ends … God wins!

But there were many Jesus followers walking through the Passion Week who did not have the same panoramic view of the Gospel story. Instead, they experienced the very unexpected turn of events and perhaps found themselves on the brink of despair.

Continuing our look at the ways we need to be living so that we are walking in the light of life (see prior blogs), this week we’ll ponder the letter G for goodness (L = love; I = integrity) to see another ‘light of life’ filter to consider.


To live in the light of life also means to live a life of goodness. Of course, one way to look at this is continue the challenge to be ‘good’ people, making good decision and living good lives. But I also want to challenge you to actively look for God’s goodness!

A number of years ago, I was struck by the words in Psalm 27:13 … I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Sometimes I am on the brink of such despair that the LAST thing I’m thinking about is looking for God’s goodness. Nope, I’ve already catapulted into the hysteria of ‘how can this be happening to me?’ ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ I basically take on a VICTIM mentality.

But this verse pulls me back from that brink of despair and reminds me that God’s goodness is alive and well, and I’d better start looking for it or else …

Or else, I will despair.
Or else, I will lose hope.
Or else, I might drag down some other folks with me.

When we take off the victim mentality and put on the ‘student’ mentality, we stop asking ‘Why me?’ and start asking ‘What do I need to learn from this situation? What do you want to show me about Yourself?’

As I walked through our personal losses after Hurricane Katrina, I would jokingly say that I’m trying to learn all of the lessons God wants to teach through this, so I don’t have to be tested on this material again.

Apparently I learned a bunch because a few years ago, I got upgraded to a different kind of storm when my son became addicted to heroin and our family was rocked upside down and every which way.

I wish I could say I went straight to the ‘student’ mentality and sought what God wanted to show me about Himself but I didn’t. I cried, screamed, whined, begged, and wallowed in a lot of self-pity over the situation … we hadn’t raised him to be a drug addict. How could God let this happen?

It took a while but God patiently waited for me to begin to see that He had not dumped this problem in our laps and said, ‘Good luck.’ No, He walked with us through each difficult step and taught us much about waiting on Him and trusting in Him and looking for His goodness in what seemed like a very bad situation.

He promises ‘goodness’ … but we do have to look for it to be able to see it. Perhaps waking up each morning singing “Open the eyes of my heart…” would be a good way to start each day.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, open the eyes of my heart, I want to see You, I want to see you.