“…Partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1.4.
Discouragement is common to all of us. When we are made aware of our shortcomings, we tend to have moments of self-pity. We start to look upon ourselves. The clearer we see ourselves, the less likable we are, and more self-pitiful we become. Sometimes we may even give in to self-pity and indulge in our misery so it becomes a prolonged condition in our life.
It may sound illogical that we could “indulge” in our self-pity, but it is true, and it speaks of our imperfect nature in flesh, and it also is evidence that when we live in our flesh we become a victim of Satan, the enemy of God.
Self-pity is very often incorrectly thought to be a form of “humility.” But in truth, self-pity is not in any way close to or similar to genuine humility. In a sense, they are opposite to each other.
Self-pity is a severe form of self-condemning under the influence of a Satanic spirit when a sinful man faces himself. In contrast, genuine humility is a truthful projection by the Holy Spirit of a saved man facing God, his Maker.
Self-pity is a picture of fallen Adam , while genuine humility is an image of a regenerated child of God. Self-pity is soulish, while genuine humility is spiritual. Self-pity pleases Satan, while genuine humility glorifies God.
This is illustrated in the life of Ruth in the Old Testament.
If anyone should be self-pitiful, Ruth would. A gentile woman widowed at her young age, she had all reasons to feel abandoned and hopeless. If she had given in to self-pity, she would have become angry, withdrawn to herself, alienated from her mother-in-law and ended up dying in her homeland with misery and without hope.
Ruth did not. Ruth didn’t just make some efforts to cheer herself up in order to counter her self-pity, which would have been futile or have had no eternal meaning even if she were to be successful temporarily.
But instead, Ruth chose humility with a genuine spiritual obedience and subjected herself to Naomi, her mother-in-law (a type of the Holy Spirit), and followed her into the Promised Land. The lowly and humble Ruth was exalted because she followed the Holy Spirit. A “self-pitiful” Ruth would have seen the opposite. What a vivid illustration of the difference between self-pity and genuine humility.
For a natural man, self-pity may be just an unhealthy attitude or an undesirable psychological condition; but for a child of God, self-pity is sin.
For a child of God, self-pity isn’t just an offense to him or herself, it is more importantly an offense to God, for “…[you are] partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1.4.
As children of God, when we give in to self-pity, we banish God’s riches from our own lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. The sin of self-pity is indeed among the worst kind of sin, because it obliterates God and puts self-interest upon the throne. It opens our mouths to spit out murmurings and makes our lives black holes. There is nothing lovely, enjoyable or generous about them.
In occasions of self-pity, introspection (continually looking within) only oppresses us deeper into the pit of self-pity. When we are attacked by a feeling of self-pity, we especially need to look up and reach up to our Lord, rather than looking at ourselves. It is a call for us to focus on Christ and His great love for us, to remember that we are children of God, and to rely on His promise that our eternal destiny is heaven.
A heavenward reflection changes our gloom to a song and restores once more a walk of sweet fellowship with our Lord.
Jesus says “Come unto Me and I will give you rest.” Therefore, Christ-consciousness will take the place of self-consciousness. Wherever Christ comes He establishes rest, the rest that delights our spirit and calms our soul.