No room for self-pity

Self-pityI do a lot of whining to God. On one hand, God is the perfect target of whining because he can take it, and he can apply correction to me and fix the situation that I’m whining about. But in thinking about this, I realize that there is no room for self-pity in Christian maturity.

For proof of this statement, I offer the Apostle Paul as an example. To the Corinthians Paul wrote this:

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:24–28, ESV)

Paul was not bragging nor was he complaining. He was stating, as factually as he could, what he endured for the sake of the gospel.

With all that Paul endured, there is nothing in his letters that remotely hints at self-pity. Luke tells us that when Paul was in prison he was singing praises rather than wallowing in self-pity.

It is so easy to focus on our difficulties. It is so easy to see circumstances arrayed against us. It is so easy, but it is also so wrong.

I need to remind myself that I worship a God who is bigger than my circumstances. I worship a God who has had a plan since before the beginning of time and who is bringing that plan to completion. I am a part of that plan and nothing that happens to me or around me falls outside of God’s control.

When I am whining in self-pity, it is because I have taken my eyes off of God and turned them on myself. I am not adequate to respond to what is happening around me, but God is.

If I am moving toward self-pity, it is because I have lost sight of the greatness of God.