Here we are - logged onto Facebook and scrolling. Checking out Instagram. Browsing in Pinterest. And then it comes to us: there is a master bedroom photo that makes us drool, there is a proud momma posting about her son memorizing 27 verses and writing her first short story at the tender age of three (all while wearing cloth diapers and hip boutique clothing and never had sweets in his life), a "just now" photo of your old friends downtown having a blast. And you? Eating your ice cream in your sweats with baby puke smell on it.
We are about to embark on a many part journey of the sin of Comparison. This post, we are going to identify the bare bones of this and discover why we must constantly eliminate it from our lives. I am not the perfect follower of this but a fellow sufferer of this disease. One who has an illness that can come alongside you and say, I have been there. I am there still.
We can call this our unofficial "Comparison Support Group".
First, why does Comparison become a sin? We need to identify the sin and be convicted of it before we are able to truly repent and seek forgiveness and restoration, correct?
At the very core there are two commands that trap of Comparison does not align with:
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.
Why does this not allow us to love God? Depending on what the issue is, we fail to align ourselves with fully loving God with everything we are. Heart, soul, AND mind. If we allow that master bedroom we see on Pinterest discourage us deeply from what God has already given us, it is hard to fill our minds with praise for what we do have. We, therefore, show a lack of joy and love in God as the Great Provider. If we see or hear about an event we were not invited to it gets us down the path of fearing man - what is wrong with me? What do they think of me? They must not like me? What did I do wrong? Going down this path can eat us alive and keep us from truly relying on the Lord only for full satisfaction and joy. When we fear man over God we become trapped in sin. And trapped in the world when God can truly set us free.
2. Love our neighbor as ourselves.
Most of us know that "neighbor" doesn't just mean the person next to our house. The context is pretty much everyone. When we become jealous of a mom who meant nothing other than being excited for her child (hey, I get excited for my kids accomplishments too! Especially since those accomplishments are achieved after many tears and struggles) then we fail to love her fully. Let us also celebrate with this mom! Let us not immediately become defensive - I know we all preach the "every child is different" mantra - let's LIVE it, too.
We can fully show love to someone by, with our hearts, be truly happy for them rather than make it all about you (OUCH!). Because truly, the post was not about you, but about her child.
Or maybe, a friend shares about her home decoration, or her garden, or her creative or fitness accomplishments. We think, wow I can barely get my kids out the door for school. Or get out of bed. Remember, maybe God gave her this gift! She is being obedient in her calling. It brings her joy in this world and without it she feels like she becomes depressed. Each person has a different activity threshold than the other based on their gifts, life experiences, and personality. You, too, have different gifts to be used and praised for. That's what makes our world so joyful and colorful!
98% of the time I would imagine people's intention were not to hurt your feelings. 1% would be for the posts that may be inappropriate and hurt many (not just your) feelings. And the final 1% maybe were from people (who also need Jesus like you do) who did actually post with you in mind. But again, we are not to judge motives - we are to love. Even when we know motives, we must love.
This is a sin because we are not able to fully love someone when we are thinking inflated thoughts of ourselves and our feelings and our entitlements.
Bottom line, remember that we cannot change others - we can only change ourselves through conviction of the Holy Spirit.
Let us remember this Biblical account of comparison from John 21 -
Jesus had just restored Peter after he denied Him three times. John 21:18-22
"'Truly, truly, I saw to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.' Now this He said signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He has spoken this He said to him, 'Follow me!'
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved (John) following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, 'Lord, who is the one who betrays you?' So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, 'Lord, and what about this man?' Jesus said to him, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'"
This is a clear picture of what Jesus would say to us:
YOU - Follow me!
And there is no button to click for that.
Next time, we will dive into Comparison further as two different paths and what we need to do to guard ourselves. Please subscribe and follow us to see more!