Isaiah 49:13 For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
What’s your favorite type of party? I love parties that celebrate my loved ones’ major life accomplishments, like graduations, promotions, retirement, or marriage milestones. But there’s a type of party that I know ALL of us have been to at least one time or another. It’s a party that we did not appreciate the invitation, but we RSVP’d “yes” anyway: A Pity Party.
A self-pity party happens when we are so overwhelmed with our circumstances that we get locked up in the role of helplessness. Sometimes we get stuck in a metal pity party because of other people’s mistakes, other times because of our own. We throw pity parties because they make us feel validated in a victimhood mentality. We throw pity parties because they make us feel justified in shifting most or all blame away from ourselves and onto others.
We can find biblical hope for this struggle when we consider the story of the Israelites’ exile in the Old Testament. The afflictions of the Israelites’ exile were two-fold. On one hand, they were exiled because of their own sin, and on the other hand, their burdens were increased because of the sin of the nations oppressing them. I am certain that if I were an exiled Israelite, I would have been grumbling and throwing pity parties the majority of the time. How does God respond to them? Through necessary rebuke and compassion.
The healthy alternative to self-pity is to accept the Lord’s compassion. When we dwell on who God is, it helps us gain a more accurate perspective of ourselves and our circumstances.
Where self-pity is consumed being immersed in our own problems, God’s compassion seeks to comfort us without downplaying or overemphasizing our problems.
Where self-pity makes us feel isolated like “the only one going through this,” God’s compassion reminds us that He became flesh to suffer with us and as us so that we could be restored in full.
Where self-pity thrives on staying stuck, God’s compassion leads us to repentance, gratitude, and change.
Lord, I trust that your compassion is strong enough to redirect my self-pity. Help me view my problems accurately: to submit in repentance for my wrongdoing and to submit in forgiveness for the wrongdoing of others.