Once upon a time, I felt sorry for the whole world. If you had asked me, I probably would have told you that it was because I was so compassionate—and I would have been utterly sincere. I was never so willfully blind to myself, and everyone around me, as when I was swimming in the poison of self-pity. There are few things more addictive than the rush of dark delight that accompanies a good wallow in one’s “undeserved sufferings.”
When I was confronted on my enormous self-pity and then delivered from its stronghold, it was like seeing everything with new eyes. Where once the world was tinged with a gangrenous hue, now the very air was clean and light. Of course, there were many subsequent dealings with self-pity, because it’s a hearty sin rooted in the lie that God is not good. Still, the stronghold was broken and my entire life changed. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the move of the Holy Spirit into compassion and grace. No, the Lord has just shown me that I became a crusader against self-pity instead.
In my absolute determination to cleanse myself of self-pity, I nuked the very heart of me. My battle cry was simple: I will not go down that road ever again! So I went from feeling sorry for myself to beating myself with the truth of who I am. Is that not absolutely diabolical? The Holy Spirit had gifted me with a new, honest seeing of my life, and I took that gift and turned it into an unforgiving hairshirt of daily torment. In rigid pride, I have refused to see me as God sees me.
But He, full of [merciful] compassion,
forgave their iniquity and destroyed them not;
yes, many a time He turned His anger away
and did not stir up all His wrath and indignation.
Psalm 78:38 AMP
I’m not sure that I have ever extended the smallest compassion to myself. Until last night, I never knew that. And the Lord is showing me how it had begun to harden my heart to other people. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is an impossibility if I won’t extend God’s own compassion to myself. Yes, I am a wretched, wicked woman – that’s the truth. But God had compassion for me, and to refuse to receive that compassion for myself is to cut off the flow to everyone around me as well. It starts with me because I am a vessel. If I do not take in the love and compassion and forgiveness God has for me, then I am unable to hold, let alone pour out all He has for those around me.
This is an earthquake in the very core of me, and I am both on my face in repentance and overwhelmed by the unquenchable joy of His presence that my parched heart is soaking in right now. It’s strange, but when I stop trying to fix me and get out of the way, He comes in with a healing that enables me to see and hear and BE in Him as never before. I am freed from my exhausting self-focus and taken into the Love that never fails. I end up in the arms of my Father.
But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
1 Cor. 10:13b AMP