Amnon & Self-Pity – A case study

Posted on April 15, 2013 · Posted in Ruling Desires

Amnon was a disgusting, pathetic, miserable young man. Driven by self-pity he became a sexual predator. He is someone you need to understand. Romans 15:4 tells us that whatever was written in Scripture was written for our instruction. So, as unpleasant as it is, the Holy Spirit has something for you to learn regarding Amnon. 

 

The core information about Amnon is written in 2 Samuel 13:2. All of the other events in this narrative flow from this one observation:

 

“Amnon became so obsessed with his sister Tamar that he made himself ill. She was a virgin, and it seemed impossible for him to do anything to her.”

 

Obviously Amnon was sexually obsessed with Tamar. But if this is all you learn about Amnon, you will miss what is most important. This passage says much about attitude and desire. You could outline the attitude portions this way:

 

He became so obsessed that he made himself ill. 

It seemed impossible for him to do what he wanted. 

 

Now, this ugly picture of Amnon’s attitude becomes a universal character trait. Take this one step more and make application to a whining child:

 

The five-year-old became so obsessed with his brother’s toy that he made himself ill crying about it. He knew he should not have the toy. But it didn’t matter. He could not figure out how to get want he wanted so badly.

 

This scenario does not seem as shocking as it does when you add in Amnon’s awful particulars. However, the core concepts are the same! The attitudes that fueled Amnon’s obsession are the same attitudes that rage within the five-year old. This point is too important to miss. You must not be afraid to connect the dots of self-pity in your children with the self-pity of Amnon.

 

Lovingly examine your children’s attitudes in the light of biblical truth. Don’t dismiss self-pity as a passing stage. Listen carefully to your children. Speak to them with pleasant, gentle words. Find out what is behind their struggles and bring the power of the gospel to their hearts. Help them to see that they can always come to you with their struggles. This is one way to do battle with self-pity.

 

Paul contrasts sensitivity with sensuality in Ephesians 4:17-19. Sensitivity means that I care about what is best for you over what is best for me. Sensuality means that I care about what is best for me regardless of what is best for you. Sensuality is often fueled by self-pity. Sensuality is never satisfied and continually cries out for more and more. Sensitivity can be satisfied because it is given as a fragrant offering to God. Amnon’s self-pity led him to be ruled by sensuality. Live a life sensitivity with your children. The alternative is not pretty.

 

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.