Let me tell you about a disease you should know about. Well, it starts very subtly. It begins with a small part of your mind. Sometimes others may notice the creeping illness in you. Sometimes you notice it yourself. The scary part, is some don't notice it at all. If left alone, this terrible sickness will wrap itself around you. At first it feels good to wallow in it. It doesn't hurt. It actually feels rather comforting. It's then that it sinks it's icy fingers around you. It has you now. It isn't so comfortable anymore and others see it all over you. It pulls you deep into a spiral downward. Now fighting it is nearly impossible. You are consumed, overwhelmed, paralyzed.
What might this disease possibly be? Self pity. The truth is, it's really not a disease. It really isn't something we don't have control over. I heard a preacher on the radio in my car say a few days ago, "Self pity is one of the most consuming sins." I stopped and thought about that. I read a quote that said, "Self pity is easily the most destructive of non pharmaceutical drugs: it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates it's victim from reality." Sheesh. Honestly, I never think I'm having a "pity party." I always have a reason for why I feel the way I feel. If I'm miserable, for goodness sakes, I think I have quite the right.
Self pity is something that Satan uses more than I thought he did. He persuades us that we have a "right" to wallow in our problems. We don't feel like we're hurting anyone by being miserable especially if we try to hide it and shove it down in the depths of our heart. At least I don't. I think, "I may not get to see my fiance for two months... I have the right to be miserable."
But plain and simple, we do not have the "right" to wallow in self pity. Of course we are going to be in miserable miserable circumstances sometimes, but it doesn't give us a right. If we are saved by the blood of the Son of God, we have all we need. We have been saved and nothing can take us out of the hand of God. All self pity does is cripple me from being my best and it shows others that my faith in Jesus is weak.
"Indeed I count everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ," says Paul to the church in Philippians.
I love that! He calls all of that suffering RUBBISH! That's such a neat word, RUBBISH! And Paul sure knew about struggles.... he experienced a few.
"I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me." Psalm 118:13
We will suffer. That is part of life and being a follower of Jesus. Yet, we suffer, we can defend ourselves against the evil disease of self pity. Keep your eyes of Jesus. Focus on others. Life is more than for the pursuit of our own happiness. There is joy in following the Truth.