Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
Self-pity assuming no-one loves you and you feel left out and depressed. 1Ki 19:3-4.
We continue with our eighteenth “Defense Mechanism” which is: 18) Sublimation, which is the human viewpoint thinking of finding a new outlet, a new hobby, a new system of entertainment, etc., as a new drive or outlet for one’s frustration.
This defense mechanism is employed in the place of dealing with one’s problems when a believer fills in his time because he has lost his interest in something he used to desire.
The key word here is always something “NEW”. It’s always something new that the individual searches for.
PSD #6, A personal sense of destiny, PSD #9, +H or sharing the happiness of God would solve this problem.
19) Subjectivity is the defense mechanism which involves self-pity in that you assume no-one loves you and you feel left out and depressed, for example, Elijah in 1Ki 19:3-4. This type of believer has no capacity for life, love and happiness and so sublimates by becoming a slave to some detail of life, thereby ending up a loser. They’re always feeling sorry for themselves and feel like the weight of the world is upon their shoulders. If a person loves God he will have impersonal unconditional love toward mankind.
Look at 1JO 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. Note the second half of verse 20, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. Your attitude toward people whom you see indicates your attitude toward God whom you cannot see. If you hate those who are visible, how can you say you love God who is invisible.
1JO 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
Commandment is the noun entole, entole is an authoritative prescription; an order and command from headquarters, or a divine prescription. And what is this command?
1JO 4:21…that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
The one who loves God is a reference to the believer who lives in the divine plan designed for him in eternity past by God.
Let’s look at the evidences of spiritual self-esteem.
Tranquility of soul. You begin to relax in your soul.
2CO 13:11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be likeminded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
- Stability of mental attitude, including never feeling threatened by others and avoiding inordinate ambition and competition.
- Composure marked by self-assurance, which is the correct and accurate application of doctrine to life.
- Grace-orientation to life which includes giving others the benefit of the doubt.
- Doctrinal-orientation to reality, which is based upon genuine humility, objectivity, teachability, and spiritual common sense.
- Good decisions from a position of strength, which includes motivation from personal love for God the Father plus divine viewpoint thinking.
- Personal control of your life through doctrinal conceptualism.
Conceptualism refers to thoughts formed in the mind.
- A personal sense of destiny, which includes solving the problems related to God, self, others, and things.
- Self-confidence from wisdom, which means the function of the application of metabolized doctrine to experience.
- Poise. This is the believer under spiritual self-command.
He is a winner who overcomes self; PRO 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. The believer who has spiritual self-esteem demands avoidance of self-pity or any function which arouses pity from others.
Satan loves to get believers to be self-centered because it takes them away from occupation with the Lord and leads them to frustration and self-pity. And when people get into self-pity, what usually follows is that they become hypersensitive and easily wounded. And self-pity only intensifies any problem. Self-pity removes you from any possibility of a solution because as long as you are occupied with self, there is absolutely no solution to any problem in life. And the thing is that the person in self-pity has put themselves in that stage and only the same volition can bring them out of self-pity. Self-pity also leads to a false sense of self-importance.
No one ever felt sorry for himself without arrogance also added to it. People who are full of self-pity and seem to be humble and broken are, in reality, very much stuck on themselves and very arrogant. In fact, one of the most subtle forms of pride is the pride that comes to the individual when he’s feeling sorry for himself. Self-pity is bad enough because it is self-induced and therefore stupid, but in addition to that self-pity is very very painful. Self-pity intensifies any problem. Self-pity also removes you from any possibility of a solution. And as long as you are occupied with self there is absolutely no solution to any problem in life.
For those in a state of self-pity there is no hope, no comfort, no doctrine, nothing that would ever help them. And self-pity is never broken by sweetness and feeling sorry, self-pity is merely increased by sweetness. The point is that you can take the disadvantages of your life and turn them into advantages by allowing them to make you stronger, to go up against the odds and become not only a winner in life but a winner in the spiritual life with God.
I want to ask you some questions. What is your unjust disadvantage? I don’t mean little petty irritations that happened this past week.
What is your unjust disadvantage? Maybe you even have more than one. Here’s another question, and I want to spend a little time on an illustration. When do you plan to replace passive self-pity with active courage? When do you plan to replace passive self-pity, you know, “Woe is me”, with active courage? I read a story years ago that I would like to repeat.
Tom Sullivan addressed five thousand men and women in Dallas as he spoke to the prestigious million dollar round table of the insurance companies around the world. Men and women were up and down in their seats applauding, expressing their gratitude to Mr. Sullivan for his talk. Let me tell you a little bit about Mr. Sullivan. You may have seen on the Good Morning America program. He’s had guest appearances on MASH and fame! He is a world class athlete, holds two national championship records in wrestling! He was on the 1958 Olympic wresting team! He earned a degree at Harvard in clinical psychology! He’s a musician! He’s an author! He’s a sports enthusiast! AND He’s blind!
Tom Sullivan was the one whose autobiography was put into the film….“If You Could See What I Hear. Whose one message was; “You’ve got a disadvantage take advantage of it!” He said, “People don’t buy similarity, they buy differences!” That’s a great line! That disadvantage is what makes you different. That ability to overcome that great obstacle makes you stronger. The similarities are like everybody else!
He tells about the first time that he realized he was blind, he was eight years old, (that’s what you call the parents doing a good job). He was in the back yard and he heard a ball game going on down the street and he heard the ball and realized that they were playing a game. So, he got a transistor radio and walked about ten feet away and played it and then through the ball where the noise was. And then he went 15 feet, and then 20 feet, until finally he told his dad, “I want to play baseball!” Dad said, “Oh really, well, what position would you like to play?” And he said, “I want to be a pitcher!”
So, the father talked the little league into trying him out and they gave him a kid to stand by him to catch the ball after the catcher through it back. I mean it’s an amazing story. Here’s a guy who was blind and he wouldn’t even of had an audience if he had sight. But it’s the blindness that makes you listen. He says, “When you run all you do is see, when I run I hear 50 different kinds of birds in the air, I smell what people are having for breakfast!” “If you could see what I hear!”
The point is when do you plan to replace self-pity with that kind of courage. Sullivan said, “I determined that my lot in life is blindness, I will therefore become as a blind person all that I could possibly be!” It’s time for some of you to hear this. You’ve been hiding in the swamp of self-pity long enough. Complaining about the ways thing are. And you’re drowning. And many times you’re sucking other people under with you. You’re the most miserable pessimistic kind of person to be around when your faced with your disadvantaged situation. So what if you’re ugly, you can be smart. Some of you just need to ask God to help you to be the person your dog thinks you are.
So, when do you plan to replace passive self-pity with active courage? Here’s another question, Have you ever considered the impact your disadvantage would have on the world around you? If you could ever get out of the disadvantage mind-set long enough to view how that God can use that in the life of thousands who have their disadvantages….it would blow your mind.
It’s amazing! The Lord can use your disadvantage, be it physical, emotional, mental, financial, or anything else, to positively impact the lives of others. The only thing that stands in the way is your attitude. The question is “Are you willing to change it today?” As long as you’re alive, it’s never too late! Your life can have an impact that you will never really see the fulfillment of until you get to heaven. Don’t let the injustices of life, the unfairness or the disadvantages get the best of you….you get the best of them by making something out of your life with God.
And I know you’ve heard it so many times before but please bear with me as a I remind you of those two favorite scriptures of mine concerning unjust and unfair treatment. God can take any type of evil situation and convert it into divine good as Joseph did when he said to his brothers who had betrayed him in Gen 50:20, and as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. Or in Deu 23:5 the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the Lord your God loves you. Now, in many cases, people do not cultivate friendships and companions so when they go through something no one really knows. And that’s why many people turn to self-pity and say to themselves, “If only others realized how difficult things are”. Now, without sounding insensitive, let me say that there are a few things that poison relationships, such as self-pity.
Self-pity is the one attention getter that soon wears out the other person’s attention. If you haven’t drawn certain people into your life, don’t blame them if they’re not there when calamity strikes. Furthermore, feeling sorry for yourself won’t get you out of it. You see, we believe in spiritual autonomy or spiritual independence. We believe that a person should become spiritually self-sustained. Now, we are going to look at such a believer and what happens when a child of God is overcome by self-pity.
Now, 1Ki 19 has an application to us even though it is a different dispensation. Elijah was not indwelt by the Spirit as we are, however, in 2Ki 2:9 the Spirit was upon him. Now, in 1Ki 19:1, we begin with the fact that Elijah has just led a great revival in Israel and someone has become very angry that this revival has taken place. 450 prophets were slain and someone is very angry. She’s a woman whose name most of you are familiar with, a woman called Jezebel. She was the wife of Ahab, king of Israel. She was a tyrant who corrupted her husband, as well as the nation, by promoting pagan worship. As the queen, she soon became the power behind the throne. Obedient to her wishes, Ahab erected a sanctuary for Baal and supported hundreds of pagan prophets, 1Ki 18:19. Look at 1Ki 18:19 “Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
When the prophets of Jehovah opposed Jezebel, she had them massacred, 1Ki 18:4,13. 1Ki 18:4 for it came about, when Jezebel destroyed the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water.)
Or in 1KI 18:13 “Has it not been told to my master what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, that I hid a hundred prophets of the Lord by fifties in a cave, and provided them with bread and water? However, under the principle that you reap what you sow, in fulfillment of the prediction of the prophet Elijah, Jezebel was trampled by the horses and eaten by the dogs, 1Ki 21:19. Only Jezebel’s skull, feet, and the palms of her hands were left to bury when the dogs were finished. We begin in 1KI 19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Now, Ahab is just a figure head, he’s the king but his wife wears the pants. Ahab doesn’t have to much to say about what happens, Jezebel does. And so Ahab had told Jezebel all that Elijah had done.
And she’s very angry knowing Elijah is responsible for killing her 450 prophets. Now she finally settles down emotionally and realizes that you can’t kill a man to destroy a revival, you must discredit him. Jezebel’s action was the typical anger which in turn was followed by the plotting and the thinking of how to get rid of Elijah. So in verse 2, Jezebel uses her feminine deceitfulness to plot against Elijah.
1KI 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”
In other word’s, she gives him 24 hours to get out of town and subtly she develops a scheme. However, note that in verse 2 she sent a messenger not an assassin but a letter carrier. A letter from a woman can be just as destructive as a knife. So she has decided to threaten him or to frighten him from his ministry to the Lord. And she tries to start panic in his soul so that he’ll run away and his fruit will be spoiled and the revival will stop. Now, remember that Elijah has just enjoyed a spiritual victory. However, a believer is most vulnerable to failure after a great spiritual victory. Let’s look at this spiritual giant in verse 3.
1KI 19:3 And he was afraid [this is when he read the letter] and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. Arose is the Hebrew verb quwm meaning that he got all roused up, he’s getting emotional and he has no spiritual self-esteem in this situation. And so verse 3 says that he ran for his life. He’s afraid and what does fear do?
Fear keeps people from thinking properly. His faith-rest was turned off immediately through fear and he has no spiritual self-esteem. The Old Testament saints also had their own system of spiritual self-esteem according to Pro 19:8. PRO 19:8 is a verse that talks about wisdom and spiritual self-esteem; He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good. So, his faith-rest was turned off immediately through fear and he has no spiritual self-esteem. In fact, fear is actually a greater weapon than the object that you fear. Therefore, as a result of fear and no spiritual self-esteem in this situation, he begins to run away and he wants to quit.
And notice that it says 1KI 19:3, he left his servant there. In fact, Elijah’s servant was devoted to him and he ran 150 miles with him….but a person who is afraid and involved in self-pity, can’t even recognize faithfulness, love and devotion in others.
2CH 14:7 For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.
Notice that when God gives rest, it is time to build and prosper. Now, when you’re running for your life or running from your problems and you finally have to stop to rest, the next step is logical, you are filled with self-pity.