I read a few good articles recently about victim mentality, like this one from Pete at Bible Money Matters, Finances and Personal Responsibility: Who Is To Blame For Your Money Problems?
“I think this lack of personal responsibility is one of the biggest problems we face today as a society. Much of the credit crunch and foreclosure crisis we’re having can be placed squarely at the feet of people’s lack of responsibility. People are buying into the lie that there is always someone else to blame (and someone else to depend on) and as a result find themselves paralyzed when it comes time to make wise financial decisions on their own.”
Pete goes on to say:
“They always look to blame someone else when in reality they should have taken responsibility and made better decisions for themselves and their families. They should have been more responsible with their financial choices. When it comes to personal finance, playing the victim card instead of taking responsibility will get you to one place - broke and in debt”
“Don’t want to be in debt? Take control of your finances. Follow a plan like the one laid out by Dave Ramsey in his book “Total Money Makeover” and get out of debt - and prosper!”
Victim Mentality is Destructive
Pete is right victim mentality is a bad mindset that has led many people farther into financial troubles. But, some people have been taken advantage of and some people are not been able to pay their bills because of uncontrolled external circumstances. Therefore, this can’t be the solution for eveyone.
This is a very difficult issue today and I'm not sure how to best approach the larger problem. There are and will always be people that need help for one reason or another. Yet, there are also lazy people that try to claim they are somehow victims and refuse to take responsibility. Separating the two is almost impossible. I don't think the problem is going to be solved just by telling people to start taking responsibility for themselves. They need to understand why.
We need to discover the root cause of why people are willing to be lazy without feeling a sense of guilt. A generation ago, people refused to take handouts because they didn't want to be thought of as lazy. They wanted to work for their own way. There are several reasons why this is no longer the case; most of them can be traced back to socialism (high tax and government welfare). High tax has made it harder and harder to earn a living by working and government welfare has removed the responsibility of guilt because the government is not a person that you are taking money from. Over time as more people accepted money from the government, the government became their primary provider which led people to ask the government for more and more. The government now provides 23% of the jobs in our economy for all the services it provides.
These are a few of the issues behind the victim mentality of today. These issues can hardly be addressed by a personal financial blog. They need to be addressed by congress that has the power to change the culture through changes in the way the government operates.
Today’s culture of consumerism has led many people into the bad spending habits that have resulted in the financial troubles they are in. Some people, like Pete and myself, have been able to ignore the culture and live within our means – but not everyone can do that. If you study personality types, almost 80% of the population is a Responder personality – which means they go with the culture trends. That’s not necessarily their fault, it’s how God created them. Most people follow a leader and in a democracy the people pick the leaders. Therefore, if the people don't believe in God and the financial principles of the Bible, then they don't pick leaders that believe in them either.
The financial troubles that America is in are not just personal debt. The leaders of our nation have been leading by example and living beyond our nation’s means for 30 years, as the national debt has swelled. The blame for victim mentality has to be spread around. Everyone from the government, to businesses that are promoting consumerism and the people that have chosen to get themselves into personal debt are to blame.
The bible teaches financial principles, like the verse Pete quoted,
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7.”
This fundamental financial truth is no longer understood by our nation and is no longer taught in school to the next generation. Who will teach this to a nation that has removed the bible from the school system? How will our nation come to grips with the reality of this verse? Dave Ramsey has a great plan for getting out of debt, but first we must realize the truth in this verse – and it needs to be taught throughout the land. The leaders of our nation need to believe in this verse before they can return our nation to it's financial strength.