Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fighting Self-Pity with Perseverance

The sin of self-pity is no respecter of persons. I've encountered it in my children when the family schedule didn't revolve around them. I've seen it in Africans who expect to live as well as we Americans. I've heard its echo in us Americans who've been programmed for comfort 24/7 when an uncomfortable situation unexpectedly arises. Most of all, I know self-pity up close and personal in the ugly recesses of my own, self-deifying heart - not least in the past week as I've been sick.

Perhaps today that's where you find yourself - mad at the world or just plain annoyed because today isn't going your way. Sometimes an an inspiring example of joyful perseverance in the face of suffering is what it takes to snap us out of the sinful reverie of our self-pity. Consider the following story:

Back in 1996 an aspiring, 19 year old, Chinese ballet dancer named Ma Li lost her right arm in an auto accident. Most would have assumed her career was through. Not so. Undeterred by her new 'deformity', Ma Li danced on - now looking to inspire those facing hardships to persevere through them. Then in 2005 she discovered a young man named Zhai Xiaowei who had lost his leg in a tractor accident at age four. She invited him to partner with her in a national dancing competition. They left their self-pity behind, persevered and stole the hearts of millions.

This week Proverbs focuses us on persevering in our faith in Christ to the end. Is your life testifying to His greatness and grace today, or are you letting the sin of self-pity slow you down? The next time you feel like pouting and licking your wounds for how hard your life is or how challenging the people around you are, think of Ma and Zhai, pray for forgiveness and keep going.

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