Seventeen years ago Jim Warren shared a principle with me that I have repeated many times. In last week's message I mentioned it again. And on Wednesday night when I gave that message at the First Baptist Church of Tupelo, I noticed people writing it down. When I shared it at the Men's Bible Study on Thursday night, the same thing happened. It's one of those "Aha!" truths that you've always known but perhaps never put in a single sentence. All those years ago, when I was with Jim for a radio interview, he told me that whenever you go through a hard time, you need to keep one crucial principle in mind:
Be a student, not a victim.
The more I ponder those simple words, the more profound they seem to me. Many people go through life as professional victims, always talking about how unfair life is. That's because being a victim seems so right, so just, and so easy to justify. But perpetual victimhood dooms you to a life of self-centered misery because you learn nothing from your trials.
What a difference it makes to be a student and not a victim.
A victim says, "Why did this happen to me?" A student says, "What can I learn from this?"
A victim blames other people for his problems. A student asks, "How much of this did I bring on myself?"
A victim looks at everyone else and cries out, "Life isn't fair." A student looks at life and says, "What happened to me could have happened to anyone."
A victim believes his hard times have come because God is trying to punish hm. A student understands that God allows hard times in order to help him grow.
A victim would rather complain than find a solution. A student has no time to complain because he is busy making the best of his situation.
A victim believes that the deck of life is forever stacked against him. A student believes that God is able to reshuffle the cards anytime he wants to.
A victim feels so sorry for himself that he has no time for others. A student focuses on helping others so that he has no time to feel sorry for himself.
A victim begs God to remove the problems of life so that he might be happy. A student has learned through the problems of life that God alone is the source of all true happiness.
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