Sunday, August 16, 2009

Self-Pity...Sin in Disguise

Philippians 2:3-4 says, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

I've read those verses a countless number of times in my life. Like most things, however, obeying those commands is easier said than done. After my last post I got to thinking about excuses, and what's really at the heart of them. In my case--and in most cases--it's usually self.
One of the worst forms of selfishness, I believe, is self-pity. This is an aspect that I really struggle with because it is so deceptive at times. Have you ever noticed how sneaky it is?

Self-pity crops up in vulnerable moments...times when I'm more apt to complain and feel discontent. It's also easy to justify. ("I'm just having a bad day.") Worst of all, it clouds my vision. I slip into a totally different mindset that focuses inward instead of outward. While God commands me to set my heart and mind on things above, I choose to set my sights on earthly things.

The thing that often keeps me from calling self-pity "sin" is that it isn't super obvious. It's easy for me to judge a friend of mine because her selfishness is so exposed. Really, though, I'm no different than her. The Bible commands me to humble myself and put others first. When I don't, I disobey. Disobedience is sin, no matter how obvious it is.

So what's the solution to self-pity? I don't know if I'll ever be rid of it for good, but I believe a combination of things can really help. It's important for me to remember that self-pity is first and foremost a heart issue, and therefore must be bathed in prayer. Another thing to consider is the contentment factor. When I am content with who and where I am, I'm less likely to complain and slip into self-pity. (The latter half of Philippians 4 has some great verses that talk about contentment.) Lastly, if I'm going to battle self-pity I need to battle "self." As a believer I'm called to crucify my sinful nature and live like Jesus did. This involves always looking out for other people's interests (the verse above) instead of my own.

Like I mentioned earlier, it's easier said than done, but with God anything is possible.

Just Some Food for Thought,
Ellie V.

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