The Hidden Dangers of Comparison
I think we sometimes forget all sin is equally sinful in the eyes of God. We put sins into “smaller” and “greater” categories, with envy, comparison and jealousy falling into the former, while murder, adultery and stealing fall into the latter, more horrible sins.
But all sin separates us from God, and so all sin needs to be taken seriously. Right now, I’m thinking a lot about the sin of comparison. How rooted it is in our lives. When I actually stop to think about it, I am guilty of comparison, of envy and jealousy, waaay more than I realize.
Ann Voskamp wrote yesterday about how the sin of comparison is killing us. We use comparison like a measuring stick, assessing our own worthiness based on others’ victories or failures, beating ourselves or one another down with it. She writes:
Comparison is a thug that robs your joy. But it’s even more than that — Comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody – or your soul.
Scales always lie. They don’t make a scale that ever told the truth about value, about worth, about significance.
And the thing about measuring sticks, girl? Measuring sticks try to rank some people as big and some people as small — but we aren’t sizes. We are souls. There are no better people or worse people — there are only God-made souls. There is no point trying to size people up, no point trying to compare – because souls defy measuring.
When we compare, we’re essentially telling God that what he created wasn’t good enough.
In her piece called “The Comparison Trap,” Jenny LaBahn reminds us of just how much thought God put into us each of us:
“I am the me that God designed. He didn’t make me on accident, and He didn’t form me with some societal mold in mind that He was trying to measure up to. He is infinitely creative and brilliant.
Every time God creates, He does so with intention.
He utilized an equal and exact amount of creativity when He made you, and every other person on this planet. When we choose to compare ourselves with others around us, and the fictitious women we see in the magazine, we aren’t only making life harder on ourselves, we are telling God He didn’t do a good enough job.”
We were created with intention. The flaws we see in our bodies, in our personalities, in our abilities—they are not flaws to God. If we continually compare ourselves to the people around us, we miss the opportunity to build others up and bring glory to God in what we can do.
Therefore, comparison is at its core selfish and prideful because it takes the focus of God and others and keeps it on ourselves. So, how do we fight it?
I was given a great piece of advice by a mentor on fighting comparison. “Whenever you find you are comparing yourself to someone else, you should go right up to that person and compliment them on the very thing you’re jealous of or comparing yourself to.”
Jealous of someone’s great hair, their nice car or beautiful home? Tell them how beautiful you find those things! Find yourself comparing your accomplishments to the accomplishments of a coworker? Send that coworker a note congratulating them on their achievement. When we turn our comparisons into a way to build someone else up, the devil loses and God is glorified.
As Ann says, let’s not be people who compare each other. Let’s be people who champion each other.
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.