Monday, July 11, 2005

Who Should We Take Pity Upon?

I had a very cool “moment” at Joni Camp. I was being interviewed and the question posed before me was one I have answered many times, “What do you tell people who say that they pity you?” (This is in specific reference to my having a deformed face). I had the pat answer all set up in the chute – “Why feel sorry for me? I have a great life…God has blessed me…I have so many things to be thankful for…I have a better life than a lot of pretty people do….yadda, yadda, yadda…”

And as I opened my mouth to speak, a train whistled and the cameras stopped rolling and the camera man told me to hold off my answer until the train went by. By the time they said, “Roll camera” I had one of those anesthesia moments – you know, you hear yourself talking from inside your head and you’re thinking, “Who is that talking?”

I found myself answering the question in a way I never have before and having now mulled my answer over for a couple of weeks, I am rather alarmed by what I said.

In short, I said something like, “No, I should not be pitied. The apostle Paul said that if we put our hope in Christ and in the end Christ is not the Son of God then our hope was for this life only and, therefore, we hoped in vain. Paul says of these people that they are ‘to be pitied more than all men.’ I have put my hope in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and Jesus Christ is the Son of God. My hope is not in vain. Therefore, I am not to be pitied, regardless of what my face might look like.”

The verse I quoted was from the passage of 1 Corinthians 15:19:

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

I am still a little taken aback by that answer because it sobered me. I realized that I have participated in more than my fair share of self-pity in my lifetime – and pitied a lot of other people who I felt deserved it. And yet none of those feelings I had were based on Scriptural standards, but on earthly standards. The world says physical beauty is of utmost importance, so logic dictates that we empathize with those who have been robbed of it.

I want to be more biblically focused. I want to see people through biblical lenses. I don’t want to see as the world sees. Christ reserved his tears for eternal losses – unrepentant Israel (Luke 19:41), the death of loved ones.(John 11:35), and separation from God’s favor (Luke 22:44). In the interest of being Christ-like, I want to weep for the right things.

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