by Muriel Larson
"Now as the service is ending," said our pastor, "I want you to go to others in the congregation who have been a blessing to you and tell them how much you appreciate them!"
As I sat at the organ playing softly, I watched the people mingle, hugging, shaking hands, smiling. Some went to our pianist, David, but no one came to me. I began feeling sorry for myself. They don't appreciate me or all I have done for them! I thought. I've sent cards when they were ill or grieving. I've prayed for and with them, I've faithfully played the organ. Nobody loves me! Yes, I was having a real "pity party"!
One man did finally come up and express his appreciation. But I still felt hurt as I walked out of church that night. As I started driving home, I was filled with wrong thoughts. Ooo, I thought, I'm thinking bitter-and I'm miserable! If I allow this kind of thinking to continue, I'll no longer have my peace and joy, or enjoy going to my church! But I felt so put out, I couldn't even seem to hold it up to the Lord, as I usually did with such nonsense. So I simply cried, "Help, Lord! I'm hurting!"
Right away He started setting me straight. "Now, Muriel," He seemed to say, "who are you thinking about right now?" "Myself," I answered.
"And whom have you been serving?" "You, Lord," I replied.
"You know those people love and appreciate you. They didn't need to tell you that tonight. So now put that all aside. I want to bring something else to your attention."
Now maybe this wasn't exactly the conversation we had; but I knew the Lord was laying this on me. And I suddenly remembered something: two others in key positions in our church had been feeling sorry for themselves just that morning! When I had talked to them individually, they had both seemed to feel unappreciated. Now it seemed as if the Lord were asking, "What does this suggest to you?"
"Those of us in key positions in our church are under satanic attack!"
This completely snapped me out of the self-pity I had wallowed in. As I came out, I once again felt Christ's peace and joy in my heart.
I've got to share this with those other two, I thought. But how? I don't want to offend them. Then I realized that the best way would be for me to tell them the truth about myself and my self-pity. Then I could share how I believed the Lord had revealed to me that we were under satanic attack.
I knew it wouldn't show me in the best light; but I did it the following Wednesday night, privately to each man. Both men admitted that they, too, had been feeling down and unappreciated, and that Satan probably was trying to make them discontented and rob them of peace. And that's how the Lord helped three of us snap out of our "pity parties"!
Truly, we Christians need to be alert to thoughts and attitudes that might drag us down! The Apostle Peter wrote, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). Let's consider the dangers of our holding pity parties for ourselves-and the antidote: the wisdom of His Word.
- God tells us that when we receive His Son as our Savior, we get a new self (2 Cor. 5:17). Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3 tell us how to keep that new self in control.
- Romans 6 tells us to reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God. Romans 7 shows how miserable and defeated the self-centered person is. Romans 8 shows how deliverance and victory are possible through living in the Spirit.
- Philippians 2 encourages us to have the humble mind of Christ; if we live by this passage, we'll have victory over discontent and self-pity.
- Christ's sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) tells us how to live in peace with God, man, and ourselves. When we forgive others, love those who despitefully use us, and return good for evil, self-pity doesn't stand a chance!
- Rejoice in the Lord always (Phil. 4:4).