I’m really good at feeling sorry for myself. Any time someone treats me in a way I consider to be mean or unfair, I end up replaying that scenario over and over in my mind. See, I’m not very good on my feet, so after something happens I end up thinking of all the things I wish I could have said in the moment. Do you ever do that? Sometimes I even think about what would happen if I ran into that person again – what I would say and how I would put them in their place.
Doing this exercise is supposed to help me feel better about what happened, but I always end up anxious and upset. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that replaying situations in my mind is plainly and simply – feeling sorry for myself. Not only that, but it causes me to feel more and more angry toward the instigator.
Last week the Lord convicted my heart and showed me the foolishness of my actions! He also brought this passage of Scripture to my mind – and I really like the way The Message Bible translates Hebrews 12:15:
Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
I haven’t been working at getting along with those people who have been unfair. By replaying those situations in my mind, I was satisfying my short-term appetite just as the passage warns! Those weeds of bitter discontent were making deep roots in my heart. I want God’s blessing, not bitterness. God’s lifelong gift is GRACE. I need His grace in my life just as much as the people who have wronged me need grace in their lives.
The temptation to feel sorry for myself probably won’t go away. But I am resolved to resist the temptation and to do what is right. God’s love is the diving board that launches me into the pool of loving others. He extended grace to me – I must extend it to others.
I hope you will join me in my new exercise – don’t feel sorry for yourself!
These types of posts always make me wonder what happened or who treated the author unfairly. So I’ll just say I’m talking about a few different situations over several years. It wasn’t a friend, family member or anyone or in my church.