I am the queen of self-pity. Whenever I am sick or something is going wrong, I tend to isolate myself and throw a full-fledged pity party. In those moments, I don't usually spend time thinking about how I can help others... I don’t even really take time to notice what is happening with the people around me.
When Jesus was crucified, he was in agonizing pain. He had been beaten, mocked and spit upon. Hanging on the cross, he had every right to only think of himself, to focus on his own pain and tune out those around him. Instead, he took the time to offer forgiveness and grace to the man hanging next to him.
My mom was diagnosed with a lung disease called I.P.F. in 2016. She had been a healthy, active young woman, but the disease confined her to a chair and made her dependent on an oxygen tank. She had to quit her job and go on disability. My mom had a few moments of self-pity, but she rallied and became a constant encourager to the other ladies in her respiratory therapy groups – in spite of her pain and physical limitations, she continued to find ways to shine light and serve God. She even put on her oxygen and served as a greeter at church.
Jesus’s example shows us that no matter how dire our circumstances we can dig deep and offer grace and forgiveness to those around us. There is always time to offer a smile and word of encouragement – even in the middle of our suffering.
Give us eyes to see outside of our own pain and suffering. Give us the strength to lift our lights even when we feel weak. Give us words of encouragement even when we feel discouraged.
- Ashly Cooley, Counseling & Support Ministries
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