Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Pride in Self-Pity

I read this quote by John Piper on Sunday in our series on the book of James. For those of you who would like to read it again and ponder it further, here it is.
Christian Hedonism combats pride because it puts man in the category of an empty vessel beneath the fountain of God. Philanthropists can boast. Welfare recipients can't. The primary experience of the Christian Hedonist is one of helplessness and desperation and longing. When a helpless child is being swept off his feet by the undercurrent on the beach and his father sweeps him up just in time, he does not boast; he hugs.
The nature and depth of human pride are illuminated by comparing boasting to self-pity. Both are manifestations of price. Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, "I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much." Self-pity says, "I deserve admiration because I have suffered so much." Boasting is the voice of pride  in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak. Boasting sounds self-sufficient. Self-pity sounds self-sacrificing.
The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be so needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego. It doesn't come from a sense of unworthiness, but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.
Christian Hedonism severs the root of self-pity. People don't feel self-pity when suffering is accepted for the sake of joy.
From The Dangerous Duty of Delight

Monday, January 6, 2014

We Are Set On "Self-Destruct"

A prophetic quote from the late Malcolm Muggeridge:
. . . it has become abundantly clear in the second half of the twentieth century that Western Man has decided to abolish himself.
Having wearied of the struggle to be himself, he has created
his own boredom out of his own affluence,
his own impotence out of his own erotomania,
his own vulnerability out of his own strength;
himself blowing the trumpet that brings the walls of his own city tumbling down, and, in a process of auto-genocide, convincing himself that he is too numerous, and labouring accordingly with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer in order to be an easier prey for his enemies;
until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keels over a weary, battered old brontosaurus and becomes extinct.
—Malcolm Muggeridge, Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith, ed. Cecil Kuhne (Ignatius Press, 2005), 16.