The Peril of Self-Pity

by | Apr 5, 2021

Joseph Herrin (7-2-2001)

For some time it seems the Father has not spoken to me a direct word, but yesterday I heard Him speak by His Spirit and what He revealed seemed to me to be a very serious matter with Him, and I feel led to share it.
I had lain down for a nap yesterday evening with several issues weighing on my heart, and when I woke up I heard the voice of the Father speaking to me. I had been in a rather dark mood as I had been pondering all of the difficulties and rejection and misunderstanding I had endured over the last two years, and which I continue to face. It has been a difficult place to have been stripped of so much and to have endured so many trials, especially since it has been in isolation and lonely places that I have had to walk.
I was in a dark mood as I considered these things, and I lay down to take a nap as these things were on my mind.  When I woke up the Father spoke two words to me: “self-pity.” Following these words, He began to speak to me of the peril of self-pity.
Self-pity is a trap that some of the greatest of saints have fallen into, and because of its effects upon them they became disqualified for further service and their mantles were given to others. Some of these saints endured far more than other men, and they were accounted faithful, righteous, and holy, yet in the end they succumbed to the sin of self-pity and they could advance no further with the Father.
As Father spoke to me of these things, I sensed no severe correction from Him, only a desire that I would gain understanding and overcome this peril. I understood that if I gave in to self-pity, and began acting out of it, that I would not be able to go any further with God. Again, this did not seem to come to me as a threat, nor out of anger, but as a statement of fact, and I sensed a desire from the Father that I would pass this test as well.
Over the last number of years I have endured much as Father has led me down the path He has had for me. I have become an outcast on many levels; from my church, from my family, from friends, from Christianity itself, and I have suffered much misunderstanding and false judgment from others. I am not alone in this, for I know many others have suffered these same things in recent days, as well as have many saints down through the years, some of whose stories are recorded for our benefit.

Father reminded me of Moses, who was a very meek man and who walked in faithfulness before the Father. He shared an intimacy before God that no other man of his day knew, and yet he was falsely judged as trying to be a lord over the people and of directing people according to his own will, when in truth he was walking in obedience to Yahweh’s will. The leaders of the Jewish people falsely accused him at Korah’s rebellion, and at one time even his own brother and sister judged him falsely.
Moses grew tired of all of the rebellion of the people and their unbelief grieved him. At times he felt  so weighed down with the burden of the people that he gave way to self-pity. One such moment is recorded in the following scripture.
Numbers 11:11-15
So Moses said to the LORD, “Why hast Thou been so hard on Thy servant? And why have I not found favor in Thy sight, that Thou hast laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that Thou shouldest say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which Thou didst swear to their fathers’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if Thou art going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Thy sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”
Yahweh never corrected Moses for this complaint, at least there is no record of any such correction. This root of self-pity remained in Moses until it bore fruit in his life and he struck the rock when he was commanded to speak to it. It is to be noted that when Moses struck the rock that he chastised the people with his words, yet his anger was not a righteous anger demonstrating a zeal for God. Rather, his anger was rooted in his own self-pity and his offense that the people were once again grumbling about his leadership when he was simply doing all that the Father had shown him to do. When Moses struck the rock he was in actuality demonstrating anger toward God for burdening him with a rebellious people who kept falsely judging him. His self-pity manifested in this action.

Later, we see in the story of Elijah that he too came to a point of self-pity. After spending three years in isolation, knowing that if King Ahab caught him he would kill him, he then called all Israel together to confront the prophets of Baal. Elijah was outnumbered 850 prophets to one. He knew what it was to stand alone in obedience to Yahweh. He saw Yahweh perform a great sign and all the false prophets were killed. He then outran Ahab to Samaria and overheard Jezebel saying that she would kill him before another day had passed. In great weariness of soul and body he fled to the wilderness where he lay under a tree wanting to die.
In both of these instances, the self-pity of these men led to their mantles being given to another. Moses was replaced by Joshua and Elijah by Elisha. Even though their self-pity kept them from advancing further, these men were not rejected by Yahweh. We see that they are the two who appear with Yahshua on the mount of transfiguration. They represent the remnant who are being called forth in this day. It is therefore a caution that their same failing should be found among the remnant and also be a point a disqualification.
As I lay on my bed and considered this I was made aware that I and many others are being tested in this regard. Many of us have endured isolation, rejection, and false judgment. Many of us have also endured members of our families rejecting the truths Yahweh has revealed to us, and we have experienced family members taking sides with others against us. To add to our temptation to self-pity, many have also experienced financial lack and we have had the necessity laid upon us of working to support our families while pursuing the fulfilling of the ministry entrusted to us by Yahweh.
I know that for myself, this has added to my complaint against God, and my feelings of self-pity. I have thought that at the very least that Father should reveal His provision where it is unnecessary for me to work and to write at the same time. I have felt like the ox that was muzzled while threshing the grain. When so many false ministers are growing fat off of the offerings of the church, there is seemingly no provision at all for those who are ministering in righteousness and truth.
Father began to show me that these seeds of self-pity have been present in my mind, and if they are not uprooted and cast away that they will bear fruit and cause me to be rejected for further progress in the kingdom. I was led to confess these things and to ask Father to deliver me from the peril of self-pity.
It is interesting that both Moses’ and Elijah’s self-pity arose because they were being personally criticized and maligned for doing the will of Yahweh. They did not understand why reproach should fall on them for their obedience. Why should the people grumble against Moses because they did not have water? Shouldn’t they look to Yahweh for water? Why did Jezebel want to kill Elijah for having the false prophets killed? Was Elijah the one who caused fire to fall from heaven and to consume the sacrifice?
In the same way, why should the remnant saints of God today be condemned and maligned for walking in obedience before the Father? Why should our reputations be besmirched and our character be a reproach? Yet it is the Father’s good will.
As I thought on this and the Father continued to minister to me, He showed me that it is proper for us to respond with righteous anger when people malign His name and character or act out of unbelief towards Him. However, in anything that touches us personally we are to demonstrate a different response: we are to turn the other cheek. There is no room for anger to be manifested in anything that touches us personally.
Father showed me that I cannot respond in anger towards family, friends, or church members for the actions or words which have been spoken against me. I am not to react in any way, but I am to follow the example of which Paul spoke.
I Corinthians 4:10-13
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
It is one thing to endure these things and to entertain self-pity. It is quite something else to be content with these things and to feel no pain that this is our lot.
Many of God’s saints are enduring this test at this moment.
It is not by coincidence that so many circumstances seem to be conspiring against us at this time. Father is testing us to see if self-pity will overcome us, or if we will overcome it. We could respond in anger or wrath at the things coming against us. We could choose to not trust people again, but in doing so we would actually be striking out at God for the unfairness of the burdens placed upon us. It is not a rock we are striking, our self-pity is an expression of discontent for the difficulties the Father has chosen for us to endure.
I am amazed as I think that men such as Moses and Elijah could walk in such intimacy and faithfulness with Yahweh. They could demonstrate faithfulness when all others were unfaithful. They could have revelation and understanding of Yahweh’s ways, and yet they could still fall prey to the peril of self-pity. It seems that those who endure the very most must at the end face this subtle enemy. Those who never walk in faith and who never know what it is to be called to stand alone will never know what it is to be tempted by this peril. Only those who have walked down long and difficult paths face this peril.
It would be very grievous for any of Yahweh’s overcomers to be hindered by this after all they have passed through. Father has told us that we must give place to wrath, for vengeance is His and His alone. We will never be justified in acting out of personal hurt, nor of harboring pity for the difficulties and pains present in our lives. We must turn the other cheek, and speak a blessing where we are reviled; we must endure when we are persecuted; we must conciliate when we are slandered.
We are to count it all joy when we are persecuted and slandered for the sake of righteousness, for great is our reward in heaven. As Paul, we must concur that these are but momentary and light afflictions and they are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed in us.

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1 Comment

  1. ByWaterAndBlood

    Even though Yahshua was uniquely strong in the power of the Spirit of God,
    He still had a moment of self-pity in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet He overcame it quickly in one decisive word… "Nevertheless…"

    I think it is wise for us to recognize that even the Son of God was tempted just as we are, yet He overcame. As He overcame, so too can we. This post was very timely for me, as I've been teetering on the brink of self-pity for quite some time, lonely, ostracized, with everything seeming to be extra difficult for me compared to others. Sometimes I resent the difficulties I have to walk through and strike the Rock without even realizing what I'm doing.

    Today was my birthday and I always think of my mom on my birthday. She had an incredibly difficult life. A large part of her difficulties came from the fact that she had a wooden leg. She pushed through every challenge that came her way and I can't recall a time where she complained about it. Her example, and the example I've seen of others who are hindered from normal function in some way, is that those who recognize their handicaps know they have to push even harder. They live that mindset all day, every day, whereas most people take their normal abilities for granted. I hope to see the wisdom in God's plans for putting me through difficulties, that I might emerge stronger in His Spirit instead of falling on the ground wishing I were dead, or worse, finding myself far too comfortable and complacent.


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This is the Blog site of Joseph Herrin. It is a companion to the Heart4God Website. Writings are posted here first, while the Heart4God site contains an archive of all of my books, presentations, concise teachings, audio messages, and other material. All material is available free of charge. Permission is granted to copy, re-post, print, and distribute (free of charge) any of the material on these sites.

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