By Ernest O'Neill

Why Are We Preoccupied With Ourselves and What Others Can Do to Us?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

Who of us here have not stepped into that fantasy world, where you are so filled with self-pity, so preoccupied with yourself and with what men can do to you that everything becomes blank darkness and despair? You don't see things as they are at all. You don't see the real world as it exists. You have an absolutely perverted view of the outside world. You are right in the center, as the one who has to be protected and guarded at all costs.

Loved ones, who of us have not said, "Look at the way they are treating me! What have I done to deserve this? Am I the only one that does anything here?" Or, we do it the stoical way; "I will bravely bear the cross. I have to do it. If I don't do it nobody will." Your legs are bent and your back is bent. You are not walking straight and joyous. You are very aware that you are carrying far more than your share of the world's ills on your shoulders, and you are doing it remarkably bravely, considering your background. You just want the Lord to know that, and it would be good if your wife or your roommate knew a little of it too, but on the whole you will keep a stiff upper lip and not let anybody know that you are suffering. But we all do know that you are suffering.

Today it is very fashionable to treat it in a slightly more sophisticated fashion. We say, "Oh, you poor thing, your emotions need to be healed." And so we reckon that a person in that state of self-pity and depression needs to be given a great deal of concern and regard, not realizing, of course, that the whole reason for their self-pity is that they see themselves as the center of the universe. That is their problem. That's why they are so depressed.

They have put themselves in the position where they are judging everything according to how it affects them. They are not the center of the universe, God is. They are taking up a totally unrealistic position, and God is allowing those symptoms 1n their emotions to tell them, "Listen there is something wrong. You are putting yourself in the wrong spot." But we in our society with our own foolishness think they need their emotions healed; they need more affection, more love, more attention. What they need is less attention!

I'd point out to you, loved ones, that Jesus' method of dealing with self pity and depression is wholly different.

Then Jesus turned around to the disciples and said, "You know the way I'm living and dying. Any if you who want to be really my own Father's people and children, will have to live the same way. Any of you who want to follow me have to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me. If you want to save your life and you want to preserve your emotional life as you want it, if you want to save yourself from hardship, you will actually end up losing your life in despair and self pity and anxiety. But, if you are willing to lose your life; if you are willing to forget about yourself and how these things are affecting you, and be concerned with only what my Father put you here on earth to do, then you will find your life."

And loved ones, that's it. If you will keep your nerve and will hold to what God has given you to do in this world, and do it with all your heart and enjoy it; if you will not allow your eyes to be deflected and distracted to how you are going to get along after all of this is over, or how you are going to see yourself through retirement, or how you are going to see yourself through life without a wife or a husband; if you refuse to be deflected into self-pity, God will take you on through. You will not only live heroically for Him, but He will add all other things unto you. But if you lose your nerve and begin to be concerned about yourself, to be taken up with how things are affecting you, you will lose everything.