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

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I have indeed suffered and indulged myself in self-pity. I had never given thought to it quite this way, but upon reflection of my heart, I would have to say that this assessment is pretty spot on. I wanted recognition of "wounds suffered in battle", even if the "battle" was because I choose poorly. I knew I wasn't deserving of applause, but I at least wanted recognition. Thank you. I needed to see it for what it is.