How Self-Pity Keeps You From God

Martin Luther once preached a sermon on the phrase “I called upon the Lord”, taken from Psalm 118:5. Here’s what he said to his congregation:

“Call is what you have to learn. You heard it. Don’t just sit there by yourself or off to one side and hang your head and shake it and gnaw your knuckles and worry and look for a way out, nothing on your mind except how bad you feel, how you hurt, what a poor guy you are. Get up, you lazy scamp! Down on your knees! Up with your hands and eyes toward heaven! Use a psalm or the Lord’s prayer to cry out your distress to the Lord.”

[Quoted in Timothy George, Theology of the Reformers, p86]


  1. Hey Barry

    Thanks that’s what I try to do every time but it also helps when I have friends and family around supporting me in challenging times. Is that bad? Would love to catch up with you when are you back?


    1. Of course, Rae. Friends and family can sometimes be a great, God-provided comfort. But take a look at Psalm 118:8. We can’t rely on friends and family in the way we can (and ought to) rely on the Lord.

      Great to hear from you Rae.


  2. The above Guy certainly looks a happy chappy Guy! Psalm 118 is encouraging but I don’t think Martin Luther was very diplomatic when speaking to the people. There are alot of people out there have been through awful times in life whether they are non christian or christian. By my own experience you can’t always put your confidence in Man but God is the safe way.

    But a great psalm just like most of the rest.


    1. Thank you for your comment. Of course Luther himself went through some awful times, so I don’t think he was questioning that. But as a pastor, Luther understood that his job wasn’t simply to comfort the afflicted, but also to afflict the comfortable.


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