Psalm 142

No one cares about me! (142:5)

The sentiment expressed by our verse can be read either as a heartbreaking way or in a childish attention-seeking way. There are certainly people who have fallen off the margins of community because of illness or age-related infirmity. They are people who disappear, little by little, from attending worship services, classes, shopping at the supermarket, taking walks in the neighborhood. What happens when no one really pays attention? When time passes and after they haven’t been seen for some months, they realize that they have been forgotten? Their pain is real and their complaint is real and my heart breaks for them.

There are the people whose own bad choices alienate others around them. Those who make constant demands on people who befriend them, for whom no matter how much is done for them, it is never enough. Their cry of “No one cares about me” is plainly untrue, and one has to admire those who care enough to continue showing love despite the ingratitude.

Finally, there are those who make conversation difficult by turning every interaction into a litany of complaints, about their physical condition or an expression of their bitterness about real or imagined injustices in the distant past. One by one, the family and friends drop away because they can’t stand the negativity. These kind of people isolate themselves by their behavior because others do not want to be around them. For them, it is true that “No one cares about me,” but it is hard to work up sympathy.

When you find yourself echoing the complaint of our Psalmist, first, make sure you haven’t placed yourself there by our own behavior. You attract more company with sweetness than with bitterness!

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