Video Teaching: Recognizing A Victim Spirit
Barry and Lori Byrne share about how to recognize a victim spirit – what it is and how it affects you – that can come in as a secondary infection after a crisis or trauma.
LORI: Good morning.
BARRY: Hi, everybody.
LORI: Good to see you again. Today we’re going to be talking about a victim spirit and what it is and how it affects you. I mean, I don’t even like using that term, but really, it’s a good term once you hear what it is; it helps you understand it.
LORI: A victim spirit is kind of like a secondary infection when you’ve had crisis or trauma or neglect or abuse or really hard things that you’re going through – disappointment – and you’ve not been able to get out of it. And you’re just pressing through, pressing through. And sometimes a victim spirit will come and attach itself to all that, even if that happened a long time ago. And it’ll keep you in that place of feeling powerless, of feeling entitled, of feeling, “Poor me. I always have to go through this.”
BARRY: Yeah. Probably one of the biggest doors to open up a victim spirit is getting to the place where we think we shouldn’t have these problems. Things should be going well in our life. We’ve been through the hardship, as Lori’s talked about, or trauma, and now we feel entitled for things to be better and be taken care of. Then it really opens the door to this.
LORI: Mmhmm. Another thing that comes from a victim spirit is you start blaming people around you, and you start accusing God. And I want to just read you this in the Living Bible; it’s out of Jeremiah. And you know, Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. He had troubles in his life that he had to deal with. And it’s interesting, but God just was with him through all of it.
You know, the Lord told him, “These men want to kill you because you are speaking My words.” And He says, “I’m going to destroy all of them on your behalf.” And that’s kind of how it went with Jeremiah. I mean, he did have to go through some gnarly things wondering, “God where are You?” And most of the time he could handle it, but this is a time where he got a little “Mmm!” in how he was dealing with it. So, I want to just read this to you. He starts out like this – this is in Jeremiah 15, and this is the Living Bible.
“Then Jeremiah said, ‘What sadness is mine, my mother. Oh, that I had died at birth, for I am hated everywhere I go.’” He goes on and on and on and starts talking about his poor life. “Then Jeremiah replied, ‘Lord, You know it is for Your sake that I am suffering. They are persecuting me because I have proclaimed Your word. Don’t let them kill me! Rescue me from their clutches, and give them what they deserve!’”
And you know what? This is all true.
BARRY: That’s right.
LORI: It sounds like, “Oh, poor him,” but this is really how many men want to kill him. There’s bad stuff that happens. We go through hard things in our lives. We go through – we enter into the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. We have all kinds of stuff that comes against us.
He goes on, “I have not joined – ” He’s saying, “Here’s what I’ve done that’s good.” “I’ve not joined the people in their merry feasts. I stood alone beneath the hand of God. I burst with indignation at their sins.” And listen to this part; this is where he gets a little edgy. “Yet You have failed me.” He’s talking to God. “Yet You have failed me in my time of need. You have let them keep right on with all their persecutions. Will they never stop hurting me? Your help – ” Listen to this. “Your help is as uncertain as a seasonal mountain brook – sometimes a flood, sometimes as dry as a bone.” Do you ever get to that place with God where you’re upset about your relationships, or you’re upset about the job that you didn’t get, or just a upset about the trauma that is still following you through your life and the hardship.
BARRY: And God feels so far away in those times where you’ve served and loved and given, and it feels – you’re going through a hard time wondering, “Where is God?” And sometimes it’s just not even things going particularly bad but just feeling like, “God, I just can’t hear Your voice anymore. I can’t sense You’re with me anymore.”
LORI: Yeah, yeah. So, this is what the Lord says to Jeremiah after all this. And this is all – the trauma is real, and God knows that. And He knows what He’s going to do for him. And this is what God says to Jeremiah. “Stop this foolishness and talk some sense! Only if you return to trusting Me will I let you continue as My spokesman. You are to influence them, not let them influence you! They will fight against you like a besieging army – ” He’s telling him how bad it’s going to get – “like besieging army against a high city wall. But they will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and deliver you, says the Lord. Yes, I will certainly deliver you from these wicked men and rescue you from their ruthless hands.”
Isn’t that something? What would you do if you had just said that all to the Lord, and He told you what He was going to do? One of the things the Lord is really asking – and this is in the Living Bible, “Only if you return – ” that means turn around. That’s actually repent. “Only if you repent from not trusting Me am I going to let you continue on and follow through.” You know, many times when we let a victim spirit speak to us, it stops us moving ahead in our destiny. It makes us – have you ever heard people say this? I wrote down several phrases that I’ve heard recently, but – “I can’t do this anymore.” “I’m overwhelmed.” “I’m burned out.” “I’m just raw. I can’t take this.” And you know, sometimes that’s true, but a lot of times the enemy will use that to get us to agree with giving up.
BARRY: Yeah. So, those feelings are common; probably many of us have those feelings. It’s what we do with them at this time that is really important here. And God didn’t focus on Jeremiah’s feelings; He actually really pushed him to go beyond that. This last Sunday our pastor Bill Johnson was talking about the times when you don’t sense God’s presence. And he says it’s not that God has left you; He’ll never leave you or forsake you. But sometimes you just don’t feel Him. And in those times you’re being tested; tested to see – in his words, he was saying what weight you can carry. Because if He’s going to give us more, He needs to know that we – He wants us to be successful at it. He wants us to be prepared for it, and those times test us.
BARRY: Again, if we’re looking at this from Kingdom perspective versus a worldly perspective, the Kingdom perspective is from God is saying, you know, “This is here to test you and equip you.” From a worldly perspective, we think of, “Oh, this as hard; it’s painful. I don’t want it,” you know. And there’s a difference between God is good, and believing that God is good, and expecting that since God is good, everything should be good in my life. God can be good, but we’re in this world where many things aren’t good, and so we have to be able to see that difference and be able to live with that.
LORI: Yeah. And it doesn’t mean that we can’t cry out to Him for help and make our requests known honestly and openly. But there’s a fine line of starting to blame Him or not come into alignment with really what He’s doing. And you know, Peter did this when Jesus told him to come to Him on the wind – you know, walking on the water. And the wind and the waves were going, and he was looking at Jesus, he was looking at Jesus, and all of a sudden, he started looking down at the problem. And I think that’s the biggest thing when we’re dealing with a victim spirit; we are focusing mostly on the problem, and that’s what the enemy wants us to do. And you know, several times in this thing with Jeremiah, the Lord said, “I am going to deliver you. I’m going to help you.” So, one thing we know from this this passage, that the Lord is letting us definitely go through hard things, like you said, to train us. And there was another passage in Jeremiah 12:5 where it said, “The Lord replied to me – ” listen to this; this is so great. “If racing with mere man – ” and this is after the Lord just told him these men are going to try to kill him, and Jeremiah’s going, “Oh, when is this ever going to stop? And when is the land ever going to be free from all this?” And this is what the Lord says. “If racing with mere men has wearied you, how will you race against horses, against the king, his court and all his evil priests? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in Jordan’s jungle?” So lots of times, He lets us go through hard things to equip us and train us – which we all know that; we don’t like to hear it, but it’s the truth. We have to realize – again I’m just kind of doing some bullet points here, and this is what you were talking about – there will be persecution in this life. We cannot get out of that. But we have to get our eyes off the hardship and put them on the Lord. That’s the only way we can overcome a victim spirit. And then what happened – what Jeremiah did, he actually repented of joining with this. And so, I feel like there’s so much stuff going on in our lives, and if any of those things we talked about – you know, just the conviction of, are you blaming people around you for the problem? Are you feeling a lot of self-pity – “Oh, poor me. I always have to go through this. I’m the only one that can do this,” you know, all that kind of stuff? If you feel entitled; if you feel anger like, “You know, I shouldn’t have to be going through this anymore. I’ve done it enough,” those are usually signs that you’re not fully putting your eyes on the Lord. And if we don’t do that, we’re going to be seeing through the enemy’s perspective.
BARRY: Yeah. And I think I like to try to turn these teachings around to where it affects us relationally as well.
BARRY: I just think whether it’s a marriage, or boyfriend and girlfriend, or just two friends, when you get to this place of just finding fault or the relationship gets really hard, the last thing you want to do is turn to the person. You want to remove yourself; you want to blame and criticize and create distance. Those are actually the times when, if we’re going to stay faithful to the Lord, if we’re going to love each other – not just be nice to each other but do what is good in a relationship – those are the times where you move towards the person when you don’t feel like it. When you go and try to take a step to try to reconcile something that’s between you, or talk about something that’s been difficult, and you just make a choice. Some of these things, if we just follow our feelings, we’ll never get to where God wants us. You have to make a choice. Like God said to Jeremiah, “Are you going to return? If you return, if you’d stop thinking all the negative things about Me, the things aren’t true, and you believe the truth,” He said, “I’ll put you back. I’ll let you be My spokesperson again.” And so God’s saying again, “If you can do the right thing, I’ll get you back on track. I’ll use you, and we’ll be good.”
LORI: Yeah, yeah. So, I want to just end today by just praying and leading you through a prayer that we use all the time, the 1-2-3 Skidoo, making you aware of what’s coming against you and then using the power of the cross to get rid of it. So if any of these things are true – and we’re just going to call it victim spirit because I can’t tell you all the things I just told you – but I want you to just repeat after me.
So, in the name of Jesus, I nail to the cross this victim spirit. It is not even a true perception of what this is. It’s not a Godly perception. And I break all agreements with the lies that have come along with this. And I break agreements with the lie that I have a right to feel like this. And I repent of joining with this. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to be free of this; I don’t want to feel like this. And I ask You, Father, to send this away. And as you send this away, what is the truth You want to say to me about this that I don’t know?
And just listen for a second.
We bless your spirits to really be able to grab ahold of this, and be able to see what’s going on in your life right now through God’s perspective, and be able to allow Him to be your defender and your deliverer. And we pray this in the name of Jesus.
BARRY: Alright. Have a good week.