The problem with comparison
Learning from the Bible why it's dangerous to compare.
Comparison is something we all deal with or have dealt with in the past. Especially in this age of social media, we are saturated with images of the ‘ideal’ man or woman. And many of us find ourselves spending hours scrolling through Instagram and twitter idolising these images and comparing ourselves to these people.
The crazy thing is, this worldly attitude has filtered its way into the church. This is leading us to compare ourselves to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This happens to such an extent that it produces anger towards God, resulting in us questioning Him. “Why are you blessing him/her and not me?”, “Am I not spiritual enough?” “Am I not good enough?”
The problem with this is that comparison results in one of two things; it either produces inferiority or superiority. In other words, it causes either insecurity or pride. When you compare yourself to others, you either feel better or worse about yourself. There is no in between. This sense of pride or insecurity can open the door to Satan. It makes you vulnerable to the enemy, and can breed insecurities, pride, envy and jealously, everything that God is against.
Comparison in the Bible
The most important commandment that Jesus gave to us was to love one another as you love yourself. But how can you love others if you don’t love yourself? When you are wrapped up in comparison it’s impossible to be content enough to love yourself.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘love your neighbour as much as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39.
A biblical example of comparison is Miriam, Moses’ sister. In the book of Numbers, after Moses married his wife, a Cushite, Miriam and her brother Aaron began to talk against Moses.
Miriam began to compare the gifts she had been given by God to Moses’ gifts. As a result of this she felt inferior to Moses, and craved to be seen as equal. God had already blessed her abundantly; she was a prophetess, a worship leader and was respected greatly by the women that surrounded her. Although she had these gifts, she was not above human frailty. Pride and jealously got in her way and she suffered the consequences.
“The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous – it became white as snow.” Numbers 12:9-10
Because of her jealousy towards Moses, Miriam was cursed with leprous skin by God and was confined outside of the camp for 7 days. This shows the extent to which God dislikes comparison and covetousness.
We were ALL created with special gifts
God took his time creating us and fashioned us in his image. He gave all gifts, but it’s our job to utilise and develop them for his glory. As 1 Corinthians 12:24-25 says,
“God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other”
Although Miriam had been blessed with her own gifts, she failed to recognise them and compared herself to Moses. Many of us do the same, we don’t have an understanding or a recognition of the gifts that God has given to us. And as a result, we compare ourselves to our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is not wise. If anything we should liken ourselves to Christ and try to emulate him, rather than those of this world.
You see, a lot of us tend to forget the seriousness of comparison. It is a form of idolatry because you are constantly putting your wants and desires before God. By saying “I want what she/he has”, you are essentially saying “I want what he/she has, BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME.” This is basically shaking your fist in the face of God and results in animosity towards Him.
Set yourself free
Despite all of this, there are ways to free yourself from the chains of comparison. The best way to overcome this battle is to have an attitude of GRACE. Remember that everything that you have, you don’t deserve. Everything good you have comes from God. Be thankful.
Also, remember how special you are in the eyes of God; you are his best creation and he formed you in his image.
Keep your focus on the creator, not the creation. Feed yourself with word and indulge yourself in prayer. Keep social media and the things of this world at bay. That way, you will develop a heavenly perspective. When you focus on magnifying and glorifying God, all other things become insignificant in comparison.
Lastly, always remember that even If you were only person on this earth, Jesus still would have died on the cross for you.
Image source: Flickr (Creative Commons licence)