Self-pity is a ruinous thing.
Pride hides therein, cloaked in excuses, each one contending undue hardship. But behind the facade of deprivation, the illogic and pretense of self-pity are easily exposed. Consider: God says He loves us. Thus, we are beloved. And to be beloved by our Maker leaves no room for self-pity. After all, who are we to reject God’s assessment and replace it with our own?
Logic notwithstanding, such pride is a leaky faucet in my own life. More than I like to admit, I find myself cycling through a litany of self-pitying gripes: If only this had happened. If only this had not happened. That’s not fair! Why me? Drip. Drip. Dry. To slog through a procession of woe-is-me introspection always leads my soul to desolate places. It is a downward trek. At times, it makes me want to quit.
Thankfully, I was brought back to a better frame of mind recently while reading through a compendium of Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speeches. One excerpt, in particular, reached its mark. In 2007, Michael Irvin, the great wide receiver on all those championship Dallas Cowboys teams of the 1990s, began his Hall of Fame induction speech with a beautiful prayer, openly and earnestly proclaiming Jesus as his Savior.
Then, after thanking his family, teammates, and coaches, he asked his two boys, who were in the audience at the time, to please stand up so he could share something publicly with them. He told them he loved them and then acknowledged the many mistakes he had made in his life–mistakes he wished his boys didn’t have to see. As he continued, he revealed a turning point in his life when, with a contrite heart, he reached out to God: “This time I was voiceless, but my heart cried out, ‘God, why must I go through so many peaks and valleys?’ I wanted to stand in front of my boys and say, ‘Do it like your dad’ like any proud dad would want to. ‘Why must I go through so much?’ And at that moment a voice came over me and it said, ‘Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up. And you tell everyone…that has ever doubted, thought they did not measure up or wanted to quit’” –Michael Irvin was looking intently at his boys now– “‘you tell them to look up, get up, and don’t ever give up.’”
There was no self-pity in Michael Irvin’s words that day. Just the confessions of a man who has stumbled many times, yet who has the resolve to always get back up. This because he knows a loving God has a plan for him, on this earth and beyond. He knows he is beloved.
Colossians 3:12 says, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” No room for self-pity in that. No time for self-pity for the Beloved.
I hope this encourages you today.
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