I don’t like pity parties. Maybe, because I was never invited. But it annoys me, when people feel sorry for themselves. At home, we were not allowed to do that. (So, maybe I was invited and just never got the permission to go.) And even today, I don’t see the point. Sometimes, after a bad thing happened, it is good and necessary to take a break. Hold on for a moment, gather yourself, and continue with new strength. Mourn your loss, as much as necessary. That is not pity, but an important step, to insure, we don’t miss any critical injuries. But self pity is different. That is me, telling myself, that I am a victim. Nobody treats me the way I deserve. Everyone is against me. Unfortunately, that is a slap in the face of everybody, who cares. And it is even unfair to all those, who don’t care about you at all. (Usually, because they either don’t know you, or don’t know the situation, you are in.) In any way, you are not helping yourself (for you are lying to yourself), nor anybody else (for you mistreat them).
The prophet Elijah has the best documented pity party in the Bible. After a tremendous victory on mount Carmel (1 Kings 18), he flees the persecution into the wilderness, where he lies down and bags God to take his life. But an angel feeds him (twice) and sends him on his way to mount Horeb, to meet God. And there, God in His sweet way, asks Elijah, what he is doing. „I am the only one left, everybody is trying to kill me.“ (He had that line prepared for over a month.) And after God showed His power through wind, earth, and fire, he repeats his claim. And God replies by giving him the job to anoint three people, just to end with, „by the way, there are 7,000 others like you.“ The problem with pity is, that it is only about me. I am wounded, I am hurt, I am the victim. And I like, how God handles that. He just doesn’t address it. He just points out, that it is still about God, and that Elijah is still wrong about being the only one left.
It is interesting, that even groups of people can indulge in self pity. And, as always, my favorite object of observation is the Church. Yes, we have been victimized. Yes, we have been persecuted. Yes, we have been pushed aside and declared unimportant. But that doesn’t give us the right to act like little Elijahs. Because, as much as we would love that, it is not about us at all. This universe and everything happening in it was, is and forever will be about God and His Glory. And don’t the meek inherit the earth, and the persecuted the Kingdom of Heaven? So, why should we complain? Or, don’t we trust the Words of Jesus?
But we like to pity ourselves. For we live in an evil world. And it’s getting worse by the minute. That’s, why we have to shield us against the forces of darkness out there. The problem with this notion is just, that it is nonsense. If we are surprised by new evil coming to light every day, and if that makes us believe in a world getting worse, we just didn’t see, how bad the world really is. It is not becoming more evil, it has always been evil beyond our imagination. But then, there is no reason for self pity. I mean, we have survived, didn’t we? But in our state of being self absorbed, we miss a second crucial point. God is God. He is in control. And while we think, we are all alone surrounded be enemies, He already prepared 7,000 more. So let us see the world, for what it really is. Fallen and evil, rotten to the core. But even more, let us see God, for who He really is. Lord of all creation, who died, to redeem all. And let us celebrate Him for that.