A teen-ager I know recently used a phrase her contemporaries apparently enjoy. When one of her friends feels sorry for himself the others kid him out of it by saying, ''Let's hold a pity party!''
They may actually go so far as to reiterate the woes and troubles and play the sympathizers. The ''guest of honor'' hopefully gets the idea fast that he is overdoing the complaining.
Do we sometimes hold a pity party and find ourselves the host and only guest? And at this party no one is kidding us out of it. We go over and over our problems and blame our situation on all kinds of circumstances supposedly out of our control.
Are we like the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda whom Jesus encountered? n1 The man blamed his prolonged incapacitation on the fact that he could not get to the water fast enough, when it was unsettled, to enter first so he could be the one who was healed.
n1 See John 5:1-9.
An onlooker at the pool might have hoped that Jesus would show his love for the crippled man by helping him into the water. Certainly the Master showed great mercy and compassion toward people he met. And practicing Christians today consider the Golden Rule vital to their progress. But Jesus brought a deeper view of reality to his application of the Golden Rule. He had spiritual vision. He looked beyond the material view to the truth of God's creation, the same truth he taught his students and the very same truth available to us today.
It's important to recognize the distinction between the strictly material view of creation, generally labeled as ''reality,'' and the true, spiritual view consistently entertained by the Master. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes: ''Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.'' n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477.
So Jesus did not pity the infirm man; that is, he did not sympathize with the discord. Instead, his pure spiritual vision saw the man as God sees and has created all His children - whole and upright. The Bible records the outcome: ''And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.'' n3
n3 John 5:9.
If Jesus had simply pitied the man, he could not have seen past the physical condition, for pity indulged makes inharmony seem real to the beholder.
The Bible states, ''The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.'' n4 Jesus' ministry on earth was to bring God's truth to all mankind, the truth that ''endureth to all generations,'' including ours. He declared, by word and by healing, the Christly message of an omnipotent God who is entirely good, whose very nature is Love. This loving God is the Maker and maintainer of each one of us, and in truth we are included in His completely harmonious spiritual universe.
n4 Psalms 100:5.
It looks to the human eye as if God's creation includes sickness, sin, and death. But Jesus showed that material eyes don't really see the truth. They don't see beyond a temporal, fluctuating, uncertain sense of things. The people looked at leprosy, but Jesus saw health. The scribes and Pharisees gazed on the adulterous woman. Jesus evidently saw her true nature as God's pure and innocent child. The people viewed a crucified mortal. Jesus knew his true, spiritual being could never die. He once said to his uncomprehending disciples, ''Having eyes, see ye not?'' n5
n5 Mark 8:18.
So we can follow the example of Jesus to some degree, by striving humbly to look beyond the obvious material picture to the true man who is maintained in perfection by a God who loves His creation. As followers of Christ Jesus, we can endeavor always to show compassion for the individual while uplifting our view to a higher standard where spiritual healing can take place. Pity then will be unnecessary, and we can hold a thanksgiving party, glad to see the smiling guests. And we will be among them! ? DAILY BIBLE VERSE o, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright. Ecclesiastes 7:29