Your six-year-old has become so obsessed with wanting his brother’s new toy that he has convinced himself that he is being treated with extreme cruelty because he can’t have it. By allowing self-pity to grow this child’s parents are raising someone who will become a slave to lust. This is the reason the Holy Spirit warns against grumbling and complaining.
This scenario does not seem as shocking as the story of a teenager obsessed with pornography. However, the attitudes that fuel the teenager’s lust and obsession are the same ones that control your six-year old. This point must not be missed. You must connect the dots of self-pity in your young children with the self-pity of teenagers enslaved by sins like pornography and substance abuse.
Don’t dismiss self-pity as a passing stage. Whining in young children is an early warning sign of a life centered around selfish desires. Left unchecked whining can grow into an ugly, deadly obsession. Our culture is fixated on sensuality. Basically, a sensual person is obsessed about what gives him or her pleasure. So the craving for the toy is replaced with a craving for self-pleasure or a cure for discontent.
Self-pity is the enemy of sensitivity. Self-pity will shift your child’s focus to sensuality. Sensuality means that I care about what is best for me regardless of what is best for you. Sensuality is never satisfied and continually cries out for more and more. (Ephesians 4:17-19)
Sensitivity, however, can be satisfied because you can obediently care for other people. Sensitivity, based on Christ’s commitment, is the first essential building block in having good relationships, both with God and others. On the other hand, self-pity will lead your teenager into bouts of discouragement and a craving for self-pleasure. Pornography is just one of the ugly fruits of self-pity.
When you see your six-year-old whining about something, add ten years to his behavior and ask yourself, “what will he be whining about and craving for when he is sixteen?” Lord willing, that will send a shocking dose of reality through you mind. Take the time to enter into his world and teach him life is not about feeding his desires. Life is about having his desires met in Christ.
Live a life of sensitivity with your children. Show them the selfless love of Christ.