The Sin of Comparison

We've all been there - a sister in Christ comes into the church house on Sunday morning with another new outfit on. Or the neighbors have traded in their used car for something brand-spanking new. Or a relative is moving to an exclusive community, into a house with more bathrooms than family members.

Then we start to think about what we have, and it just doesn't seem to compare. We wish we had more money, spending money and mad money...just a little more something than what we have now.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Paul warned the people of Corinth that coming up with human standards is dangerous business. Whether it's looking at what other people have, or what you don't have, is stepping onto shifting sand.

Can you substitute the words foolish or stupid in place of "not wise" for a moment? You and I are completely different people, and we are at different points in our lives. Comparing myself to you would be like apples and oranges - it just doesn't work, and Paul said it was just plain dumb.

Whether you're the one with more than someone else, or you're looking on with envy at what other people can afford, comparison is simply pride rearing its ugly head. This sin makes us blind to the success of others, keeping us from rejoicing with them in their achievements. It also means that we don't have enough pleasure in the blessings God has given us, but we have to try to achieve some made-up standard.

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? 1 Corinthians 4:7

Who am I to decide who has it better than I do? I don't know your situation or what it is that you truly have need of today. You might come to church in a new outfit on Sunday morning, simply because someone was lovely enough to give you hand-me-down. The neighbors may have been praying for funds for a new car because there were just too many miles on the old one. And that relative who moved into a new house may have been blessed with a raise, a bonus or some other gift from God.

I can only see the tiny little picture of life that is right in front of my nose. Praise His holy name that God can see the entire thing from beginning to end. He knows what blessings you and I need today and He knows what things to hold back from us for a while. Seeing someone else doing well financially is a reason for rejoicing with a sister in Christ, not for comparison and envy.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Philippians 4:11-12

When we are truly content with the blessings the Lord has chosen to give us, the need for comparison dies away. Growing in His grace is difficult, but God will bless us for each step we take to be closer to Him and further away from the flesh.

So let's be slow to judge, quick to support and separate from the need to compare our financial situations with those around us. We'll be more joyful in the long run and the focus will be on God's riches, not our own.

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