Have you ever thrown yourself a pity party?
Even if you claim you haven’t, I’m guessing you know someone who has.
When we say someone is throwing a pity-party, we are suggesting they are whining, complaining, or acting pessimistic.
It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself if you are focused on yourself. Self is the keyword in self-pity.
Someone who is bogged down by self-pity can’t see past self. All they see are things that have not gone right in their own life.
The Biblical Counseling Center explains, “The person is overly focused upon self and has unrealistic expectations of how life should be treating them.”
If you are struggling with self-pity, there is a way out of the pity party!
Today, we’re talking about why self-pity is a sin and discussing solutions to help you rescind the invitation to the pity party.
Self-Pity is Prideful
Whenever we are focused on self, the issue is pride. The Biblical Counseling Center defines it this way: “You may think of a prideful person as someone who is bold, loud, confident, and arrogant. Self-pity is the prideful idea that ‘I am not getting what I deserve, I deserve better.’”
When we think this way, we fall into the trap of believing we know better than God, and God hasn’t given us what we deserve.
Let’s be honest – God hasn’t given us what we deserve. God has not punished our sins as we deserve. That’s called mercy.
Instead of complaining and judging God, we should praise Him for his outlandish mercy!
Self-Pity is Sinful
Pride is a sin. Since self-pity is a pride issue, we can surmise it is also a sin.
As Jon Bloom of Desiring God writes, “Self-pity is our sinful, selfish response to something not going the way we think it should. And it’s a subtle sin; we often don’t recognize it right away because it wears the disguise of righteous indignation. We feel justified to indulge it after the injustice we suffered, even if all that happened was we didn’t get our way.”
Additionally, self-pity very quickly morphs into self-destructive behaviors. For example, self-pity is often followed by a hardening of our heart.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
– Hebrews 3:13
How to Stop Being So (Self) Pitying
Now that you understand why sulking and feeling sorry for yourself is a sin that leads to more sin, you should know, with the help of Jesus, it is possible to change.
Throughout the Bible, we see individuals who God changed from the inside out.
God redeemed and transformed people like Jonah, who had pity parties, so you can be transformed, too!
Let’s look at solutions.
First, Stop Focusing on Feelings
Unfortunately, we are constantly bombarded and taught to listen to our feelings. It’s part of our pop culture.
Feelings are indicators not instigators. It is unwise to live life based on feelings because they are fleeting.
Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Our feelings get us into trouble.
It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves, but it doesn’t mean the way we feel is right.
Instead, we need to carefully respond to our feelings instead of reacting to them. Choose to think through an issue rather than react to an issue.
Thinking provides perspective.
Transform Your Mind
In order to think wisely, transform your mind.
If you spend your time in negative thought patterns, such as “my life is so bad” or “why doesn’t anything good happen to me,” your thought life will be consumed with self-pity.
Instead, renew your mind by spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.”
– Philippians 4:8
Find contentment with all God has given you rather than resenting what He has not.
Consider Paul’s advice:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
– Philippians 4:11-13
It’s impossible to throw a pity party when you are content.
Instead of wanting more or getting stuck in the belief that your life is so bad, think of Paul.
Paul found contentment even when he was in prison!
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or what has gone wrong in your life, focus on what you have been given.
Thank God for all He has done and all He has given – the list is endless!
If you are struggling with leaving the pity party, open the Book of Psalms and reflecting on verses expressing thankfulness to God.
Turn from Selfish to Selfless
Finally, a quick way to turn away from self-pity is to bless others.
Rather than being selfish, focus on serving others.
It reminds you how God made us to help one another.
Ultimately, it reminds us to serve because Christ served. It’s not about us.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:45