As a recovering depressive, I now have access to a bottle that is filled with grace including my deliverance, my bride of 39 years (tomorrow), my children who are all walking in faith, elderly parents still in good health, our house, plenty to eat, wear and drive, good friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, colorful birds, sunshine, at least a little remaining hair… Don’t you have a bottle of grace too? What do you have that you did not receive? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
First, since self-pity is the fruit of believing I deserve certain things, that I’m entitled to certain things, basic theology on the human condition can help: I am a sinner and the only thing I rightfully deserve is God’s judgment and hell. Having been relieved of that in Christ, everything else is a bonus.
Second, since God is sovereign and always up to something (actually a lot of somethings since He’s great at multitasking), maybe it’s not even about us! Maybe the other person’s criticism isn’t accurate but it’s his/her way of trying to drown out what God’s trying to say to him/her. Or, maybe we’re feeling sorry for ourselves because we weren’t invited to something. Unknown to us, it had nothing to do with us. But in our pride, we assume the world revolves around us and surely, why we weren’t invited was because of something the other person has against us. Surely, it was about me.
Maybe not. Self-pity can lose it’s power as God grows greater in our eyes, as people matter more and more, and as “me” takes its rightful but limited place. Professionals urge us to think well of ourselves; God urges us to think rightly of ourselves.
- Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3
- Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
- We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. Luke 17:10