Comparison. We all do it, even as the body of Christ. Sometimes unintentionally whether it’s to make ourselves feel better as though we’ve accomplished something others have not, or to beat ourselves up. Other times, it’s out of sheer pride and arrogance.
I’ll be honest and say I’m certainly not excluded from the trap of comparison. I saw a retweet by a friend of mine. She retweeted a post from another girl that I used to be friends with. Before realizing who the tweet came from, I initially read it and thought “Wow! Amen! That girl is dead on. Who is this?” *looks at Twitter name* “What???? She’s trying to be a Christian now???” *stale face*.
Immediately, the Holy Spirit convicted me – almost audibly – on the bus ride to campus, “LySaundra, now you know you used to be a ratchet mess, but I’ve extended, and continue to extend grace to you. I love her just as much as I love you and I can make her into a new creature just as I’ve done for you. Act like it.”
Though it’s the truth is painfully convicting at times, I love how the Holy Spirit can humble me in an instant when I start to become prideful and self-righteous. I haven’t always been the person many people know today. I was a mess – well I guess I still am (Philippians 1:6)! I am as stubborn as they come and only a God so Holy can have the power to make me new. God spoke to me in a way that reminded me that though he’s brought me a very long way in the past two years, I am still in no place to look down on others.
Point of Comparison #1…Sin
We compare sin. Often. It’s as though our human minds subconsciously put various sin on a continuum of “not-so-bad” to “horrible”. We must be reminded of the basics: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). No matter the sin, Christ hung on that cross for any little thing that is less than holy. Who are we to compare our sin to the next person? We don’t truly understand our depravity and sinfulness if our first inclination to seeing someone else’s sin is to condemn and not lovingly pray for repentance.
Lo’ and behold, that includes me. No matter how long I’ve been running this race, or how far I believe I have gotten, I’m still not there. I’m still not in heaven. And my heavenly Father has yet to say “Well done, my faithful servant”. Therefore, my attitude and outlook on life should not be that of one who has arrived. On this earth, we will never arrive, but we continue to press on and keep our minds focused on heaven. Humble yourselves before the Lord, or He will humble you (Colossians 3:2, Philippians 3:13-15).
Point of Comparison #2…Image
On the other side of the issue of comparison is image. God has created each of us as unique people, functioning in many ways to complete on body – the Church (1 Corinthians 12:1-12). My life is not supposed to look like the woman next to me, down the street, in my class or in my circle of friends. My life – my body, my mind, my desires – are supposed to look the way God intended them to be – uniquely me, perfect in His image.
I don’t think it’s wrong to want to be as patient as someone else. That’s a wonderful attribute to wish and surely something that God would not mind all of us possessing a little more of each day, but if you’re 5’0, pear shaped, with curly hair and a loud, outgoing personality and God looks at you and says “I have created this beautiful young woman, perfectly in my image to take on a mission that only she can carry out!”; how do you think it makes Him feel when you’re constantly comparing yourself to the 5’9, thin framed, straight hair, introverted girl next to you – wishing you could change everything about yourself to look and act like her? How selfish are we? Wanting to change what the Creator calls perfect?
Psalm 139 tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (v.14), not carelessly or accidentally put together in a hurry, but FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY! “Wonderfully” comes from the Hebrew word, niphleithi, which is derived from the word, palah, which means “to be set apart”. “Set apart” as in, not like everyone – or anyone! – else! God created us and wrote every highlight of our lives in His book far before the earth began! Who are we are to spit in His face by wishing to be someone else or look like someone else, or worse, looking down on others with disappointment and wondering why God ever bothered creating him or her. He created our worst ‘enemies‘ for the same reason He created you and me, for purpose.
So this is my prayer, and hopefully yours too, that I would begin to look at all people through the lens of Christ, beginning with myself. If I’m required to love my neighbors as I love myself, but I don’t seem to do that so well, I think it’s time that I question how much I truly love and value myself? How often am I looking into the mirror and seeing LySaundra through the lens of Christ? Only then will that love on the inside begin to freely and effortlessly flow out toward others.
I challenge you to meditate on Psalm 139 daily for about a week. Really break down what each verse says about you and your relationship with God. I’ll do it too! While doing this try to write any positive things about yourself that God reveals to you, things you may have never noticed before. Share your discoveries below in the comments area or e-mail them (email@example.com) and I will put them in another post (Anonymously of course!). Let’s move past this point of comparison and begin looking at how so many unique people can work – and indeed are working – together to make up the body of Christ.