Sunday, November 11, 2012

Self-pity is No Party

I recently saw a painting (at by an artist named Katie O'Hagan. The title of the painting was Pity Party.

The image reminded me of times when I have met people (such as Pastor Al Toledo of Chicago Tabernacle, or as I called him,"Pastor Al, the Masochist's Pal") who have seemed to be deficient in the compassion department. Such people have used phrases such as "pity party" to denigrate those who dared to be honest about their struggles, particularly in relation to the subject of depression.

Depression is no joke, and a pastor who claims to want to serve Jesus by loving people as Jesus loved people needs to learn to listen to people who are psychologically hurting, instead of dismissing their needs as unimportant.

Such a person needs to read Romans 12:15, which enjoins believers as follows: "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

No one likes being around depressed people, but that ought to be regarded as just a part of the job if one is a pastor, just as being around sick and physically hurting people ought to be regarded as part of the job if one is a doctor or a nurse. It's been said that "if you can't stand the heat, you should get out of the kitchen". The "heat", in this case, is the unpleasantness one feels when in the presence of people who are sad or depressed or even a little bit angry because they have been mistreated. There's more to being a real pastor than just preaching an impressive sermon. It's what a person does in his office when only one other person can witness his manner of handling crises that makes the difference between real pastors and pastor wannabes.

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