Pity is a poor replacement for love, because it fades the fastest. Love is true and more valuable, because it sustains.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Pity is the opposite, for it is a temporary feeling that is a response to either guilt or sorrow, these two things are feelings, just a flash in the pan. I have had pity and I have had love, there is a great difference. I prefer love, genuine, true, patient and kind love.
Matthew 6 has a good example of what I mean about pity, I believe pity doesn’t promote the heart to do good out of sincere love.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward….”
Many times I believe people confuse pity and compassion. True compassion evokes one to sympathy that moves a person to long lasting action, where pity in short, isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to see someone suffering and only put yourself in their shoes for a few seconds. You can’t just forget about the people you see.
People can easily forget the psychological implication of certain terms. The word “pity,” for example, some may say when you experience the emotion or feeling of “pity,” you feel a basic kind of empathy. You’re capable of connecting with suffering and understanding a situation. You “get it, ” but do you want to suffer through it too?
Feeling pity for someone doesn’t just mean empathizing with them, in my experience some also feel a sense of superiority. Certain people think they’re “better” than the person for whom they pity. They see social or economic status, their’s vs yours, pity vs love. Have you ever thought about what your’e feeling for another person? Is it true love and compassion or a passing pity that makes you aware of a persons pain, but doesn’t drive you into action?
Compassion comes from the Latin, ‘cum passio’ we could rephrase the term to say it’s “suffering together” or “dealing with emotions together.” Compassion means equality between peers, relatives and friends. The goal is not just to understand and feel another person’s pain, but also to commit to helping them improve their situation.
Sadly, I know I have received a great deal of pity over compassion at times. I look around and think about times I’ve bucked up the courage to actually ask someone for help, it is NOT something I can do easily. I’ve asked for assistance out of desperation for help and that person who says they “care” offered an excuse instead of finding a way to help. Asking for help to me is like taking a hot iron to my throat and then placing me at the edge of a cliff, it’s terrifying. I learned to become self reliant at an early age. I personally would much rather rely upon myself than others, because of let down. Let down hurts, so very much. I blame myself for every no or excuse from another I’ve ever received. I feel it’s certainly me and only me that’s causing the no.
“I’m not really liked,” I think. “I said something wrong,” “I did something wrong! It’s me, I’m just WRONG, no one really likes me, they just feel sorry for me.”
These thoughts and more spin through my head.
How does this relate to pity and love? In my life learning it has taught me who has true compassion for me and who it is that at the first sign of actually having to be there, they have reason why they can’t. So I’ve learned to avoid the pity and cling to the compassion.
Will you sit with someone and listen to their hearts hurt or will you do all the talking? Do you say “hey if ya need me just call” then when you’re called upon you just “can’t” at the time? Do you read these blogs and feel sorry for me, but never send a message, because you’re more curious than caring about what it is that has caused me to suffer? Do you care, with compassion and love that I have struggled to get out of bed some days and even smile?
It’s okay if you answered to yourself something to the effect of “I’ve really just had pity and not love.” The most important reason that I write is to help others. To share my story in hopes that it will help affect positive change in the lives of others. I don’t want anyone to feel guilt over their observation of my life, but rather be challenged to help themselves and more importantly others to grow in some way.
I’m not perfect by any means. There have been times I have felt terrible self pity, where I couldn’t get over the fact that I was hurt over and over by others. One of the first questions I had to ask myself and learn how to cope with in therapy was “how do I accept what others chose for me as a child?”
Poor, pitiful, pathetic little Dora, hurt by so many she can’t see her blessings. I worry that people think this as I write. I do see them friends, but I have had self pity, should I? There’s another question I had to ask myself in therapy “is it okay to feel bad for myself?” I would if it were someone else, but allowing myself grace is not something I do, I hold and find fault in myself for every bad thing that’s ever come my way.
I have felt self doubt for sharing my story with others and worrying that I should just keep it all in to save others the feeling of “pity” upon me. I certainly don’t want that, as I stated earlier, compassion yes, pity, no thanks. None of us are perfect, the chief of sinners is I. But we must choose how we focus our hearts and minds and this blog is one way that I’m trying to be brutally honest with myself and others in the sincere, compassionate, loving hope that something I say will stir the hearts of others to be better and do better or to seek healing and therapy.
There’s nothing you can say about me that I haven’t said worse about myself and believed it. That’s the depression I wade through at times. I must learn to have compassion for myself and the things I struggle to overcome and not pity. I can’t ask someone to have compassion for me if all I have is pity. The pity would have me depressed and longing for a way out, the compassion takes work. It says “feel it, acknowledge it, then do something about it!” FACE IT! That is the hard part, facing it all, realizing we are fault filled individuals in need of a savior, in need of learning that we can always be better tomorrow than we were today.
I’m thankful the Lord loves me and has given me examples of how to combat the pain and sorrow of a childhood I’ve mourned for too long.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
— Hebrews 4:15
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
— Mark 6:34
This was a tougher blog to write than you may know. I haven’t written in a bit, because I have faced a let down after hope was given. It hit me hard. It’s made me sick and it has hurt. I had to drag myself to the computer this evening and let go of the let down with the hope of being better personally tomorrow. I have to be what God calls me to be, I have to become “Who I Was Born to Be.”
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
— Psalm 112:3-5
— Colossians 3:12
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
— Galatians 6:2
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us all in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.
— Ephesians 4:32
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
— Romans 12:15
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
— 1 Peter 4:10
— 1 Peter 3:8
— Zechariah 7:9-10
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
— Philippians 2:1-2
This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’