By Marsha West
Society paints people as victims. But does the Bible do that? Do we learn from reading the scriptures that although believers suffer unjustly and experience various trials, that those who suffer injustice should view themselves as victims? Certainly not! What the Bible does teach is that we are all dirty rotten sinners; thus, we deserve God’s judgment. According to Justin Peters, who is a top tier signatory of The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (SJ&G), “Our sins have earned us nothing but holy wrath and to intimate otherwise is to have an elevated view of man and a diminished view of God.”
Although Peters affirms that injustice does exist, he is not on board with the Social Justice movement or what some call the “Woke Church” that has permeated the visible Church. Peters was born with cerebral palsy so he’s had his share of challenges throughout his lifetime. However, he has not fallen into the entitlement trap that so many other people have. And he doesn’t believe that those who experience “social injustice” should buy into the entitlement/victimhood mentality that has become so prevalent in society. In fact, Bible believing Christians should avoid the entitlement trap!
In the essay he wrote for the SJ&G blog, Peters reveals the reasons that he and the other signatories of SJ&G completely reject the Social Justice Gospel. He writes:
That our society is permeated by an entitlement mentality should be manifestly evident to all. Most people, it seems, believe themselves to be victims in one way or another and are, therefore, entitled to various benefits even if said benefits are not earned and come at the expense of others.
This entitlement mentality is both the foundation of and fuel for the social justice movement that is sweeping through evangelical churches.  The evangelical church, though, should be the one bastion in which any sense of entitlement and victimhood finds no quarter.
Upon being confronted with sin, human nature’s inclination is to blame shift. Upon being confronted with her sin, Eve blamed the snake. Adam blamed God. Cain deflected. We, as their spiritual progeny, do the same. We all have the tendency to point the finger at someone else to explain away our own sin or our lot in life if it is not to our satisfaction. We all want to be innocent victims rather than morally accountable.
One of the subtlest and yet, left unchecked, deadliest dangers of the social justice movement is that it fosters in people the idea that they have been unfairly treated and are entitled to preferential treatment to compensate for this inequity. If we look hard enough, most of us could find someone or something to blame for not having what we want to have.
I was born with a moderate case of cerebral palsy. Through no fault of my own, many – likely most – occupations will never be options for me. I will never be able to be a server in a restaurant, police officer, firefighter, construction worker, janitor, mechanic, farmer, or pizza delivery man. Any occupation that necessitates carrying anything from one place to another while bipedal will forever be off limits for me. Daily tasks such as showering, getting dressed and the like that most people do in a few minutes take me nearly two hours. Some stores I cannot shop in because of steps leading into them.
Do I feel oppressed by society? No. Do I see myself as a victim? Not at all. By God’s grace I do the best with what He has given me. People have, at times, commended me for not just giving up. They commend me for not living off of the government (which I could do). But I am not to be commended in this. It is my responsibility before God to do the best with the abilities He has given me; a responsibility clearly espoused by Christ in Luke 17:10. To quote my wife, Kathy, “When you’ve done all you could, you’ve only done what you should.”
It is not that the temptation to see myself as a victim is not there; of course it is. But it is a temptation that I strive to mortify. To see myself as a victim would be to disparage others who suffer far more than do I. Here in the United States I have a nice pair of crutches, an electric mobility scooter, good medical care, and a truck with hand controls that allow me to drive. I’ve seen crippled people in poor countries like India and Uganda who have none of these things. Life is far harder for them than for me.
Some people with cerebral palsy cannot speak and cannot feed themselves. They are very intelligent, but they are trapped in bodies that they simply cannot control. That is something to which I cannot relate. No matter how much we think we suffer or how short we believe our end of life’s stick to be, it would behoove us to remember that others suffer far worse than do we regardless of which form that suffering takes. We should be grateful and content in all things (Philippians 4:12).