I had an epiphany the other day. I realized that Jesus didn't attend pity parties when He walked in the flesh on planet earth. It is written numerous places in the gospels that Jesus had compassion, yet never once in His compassion does He hug someone, pat them on the back, listen to their tale of woe, and then leave them to wallow in self-pity.
Me, I've been known to throw myself a good pity party a time or two. As a little girl, when someone hurt my sensitive feelings I'd shut myself in the bathroom and watch myself cry in the mirror! The more pitiful I looked, the more I cried. As an adult, my pity parties are more sophisticated. I may stay in my pajamas and binge watch a favorite show on Netflix or eat something rich and sweet or buy myself something I think I deserve. I do this and all the while I mull over how I've been hurt or wounded, betrayed or disappointed, unnoticed and under appreciated. Wallow, wallow, wallow, sniff, sniff, sniff.
Jesus didn't even attend pity parties for people who had legitimate reasons to throw one, reasons a lot more serious than hurt feelings. In John 5 we find the story of a man who suffered from some sort of crippling disease for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him, the Bible tells us that Jesus saw that he was lying there helpless and that He knew he had been in that condition a long, long time. Jesus didn't respond the way I want people to respond to me when I'm throwing myself a good pity party. He didn't stoop down and hug him, pat him on the back, and say, "Oh you poor thing, tell me how long you've been like this?" and then commiserate with him about how unfairly he'd been treated. What He did was ask him if he wanted to be made well. In the Amplified Bible it says He asked Him if He was really in earnest about getting well. The crippled man responds to Jesus with something that sounds to me like an invitation to join him in his pity party. He explains that he can't get well because no one will help him into the miraculous healing waters of the pool of Bethesda. In fact, he tells Jesus that other people are pushing in before him in order to get into the healing waters themselves. Now surely Jesus could see that life really had been unfair, unkind and cruel to this poor man. But Jesus doesn't placate him one bit. Instead, Jesus simply says, "Get up! Pick up your bed and walk!" ...
(Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, April 10th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)
Also happily linking up with the lovely Lisha Epperson