Ugh! totally disgusting! And totally ingrained in too many of us. Me. Self pity is a sin, but how many of us acknowledge this particular sin? As awful and self indulgent as pride is, as ugly and divisive as it is, it is far easier to admit to pride than to self pity. Why is that?
My husband and I recently attended a seminar which had some teaching on self pity. My life is not unlike many out there. Younger years of neglect, rejection, abuse, etc. Repeated dashed hopes that turned sadness into a concrete and steel wall of self reliance, self protection, and a host of other self stuff. So how does one deal with self pity?
Like they say - the first step in dealing with a problem is to admit one exists. What keeps that from happening? In my case, there was a lifetime of built up lies I believed about myself that needed faced and exchanged for truth. It was not an easy task, but I had to begin somewhere. Layer after layer was stripped away and now the ugliness of needing recognition and attention and what my flesh did to make that “need” happen is out there is all its nauseating glory. What has been evident to others (to my shame and embarrassment) is now evident to me.
I am convinced Scripture teaches that mental and physical problems are rooted in the spiritual. Many years ago, the answer from YHVH regarding my plea as to the depression I was suffering, was unforgiveness. A while back, I suffered from muscle lock-up in my upper back and shoulders. This was a result of muscle memory attached to self protection (which had already been dealt with) that needed unlocked through prayer and massage. And now, I was fighting serious fatigue and lack of mental sharpness. My neck and shoulders were stiff and painful (stiff-necked?). Once again, I was led to work with my friend through prayer and massage to get to the root of what was causing my physical pain.
The physical and emotional pain was excruciating. Praying into this, revealed a long resident spirit of self-pity. Its words came insidiously: Why not pity yourself? No one else does. My spirit/heart knew the truth and recognized this as a lie, BUT everything in my FLESH wanted to run with it. WoW! It was so enticing! I had to exercise all my strength in YHVH’s Spirit to “just say no”. It’s almost as if there is a physiological benefit from self-pity similar to using drugs, an addictive component, something that wants the fix yet also knowing it is destroying you.
The idea that no one cares or how you perceive words spoken to or about you will feed and strengthen self-pity, increasing its power. Pride/arrogance is disgusting and hard to admit, BUT the very nature of self-pity makes it far more difficult to deal with than pride.
Beloved, if you have ever felt you didn’t deserve to be treated a certain way, or made excuses for your behavior based on past abuse, or used wrongs against you to garner sympathy or attention, you probably suffer from self-pity. If you want to be fully available to YHVH for His purpose(s) in your life, then self-pity must go. James 4 is very instructive here. We do not have because we do not ask and we don’t get when we do ask because we want what we want. Abba has given me a way to minister to people by helping them to ask properly. If you sense (and you know what I mean) that self-pity is a problem for you, then ask in sincerity for revelation and wisdom about what you need to know to take care of this debilitating spiritual disease. It will not be easy and growing pains are inevitable, but will always lead you to closer intimacy with your Father and Savior.