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The Sin of Comparison...

Comparison is something we all deal with. In this digital age we are saturated with images of the ‘ideal’ man or woman. We spend hours scrolling through social media looking at images of beautiful people, and we compare ourselves to them. 

The problem with this is that, it can go beyond just comparing ourselves to online images, but it can filter its way into our everyday lives. It can even go as far as comparing ourselves to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m writing about this because, I’ve been through it. I’ve been the girl that felt anger toward God for not giving her what he had given others. “Why are you blessing him/her and not me?”, “am I not spiritual enough?” “am I not good enough?”.  

It is an unhealthy mindset to have because, not only does it lead you to doubt God but, it also leads you to feel one of two things, 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 a lot of negativity. It makes you vulnerable to sin, and can breed insecurities, pride, envy and jealously; everything that God is against.

“But if you have harbour bitter, envy and self-ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, un-spiritual and demonic. For where you have envy and self-ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice”  James 3:14-16

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 almost impossible to be content enough to do so.

“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 who happened to be from a different tribe, Miriam and her brother Aaron began to talk negatively against Moses.

“Has the lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” Numbers 12:2

Miriam began to compare the gifts she had been given by God, to Moses’ gifts. 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 by God with leprous skin and was confined outside of the camp for 7 days. I remember when I first read this passage, though I knew Miriam was wrong, I understood her heart. She felt overshadowed by her brother. She felt like all that she was, and the gifts she had didn’t matter when Moses was around. I’m sure all of us have felt this way before.

But God’s response to her, shows just how much he dislikes when we compare ourselves or covet what others have. God took his time to create each of us individually. We were fashioned in his image. Meaning that every character trait, every bodily feature and every aspect of our personality was created with a purpose. 

Miriam had her own gifts; she was special in her own right. But she failed to recognise all that God had given her. We can do the same; because when we trivialise the gifts that God has given to us, we end up comparing ourselves to other people. When actually if we’re going to liken ourselves to anyone, it should be Christ, not people in the world. 

“We do not dare not classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves by themselves, they are not wise”  2 Corinthians 10:12

In all honesty, a lot of us don’t really see the seriousness of comparison. I’ve been guilty of this also. But when you sit down and contemplate it, you’ll realise that it’s actually a form of idolatry. You’re putting someone else on a pedestal. You’re ‘shaking your fist’ in the face of 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.” 

So now that we’ve established that comparison is something that God doesn’t like, it’s time to figure out a way to be free of this. The way I overcame was by seeking to have an attitude of gratitude. Try to remember that everything you have, everything that God has given to you, you actually don’t deserve. It’s because of his grace that we have good things. 

Secondly, try and keep your focus on the Creator, not on the creation. You have to be intentional about feeding yourself. Aim to spend time reading your bible and praying every day. Maybe fast from social media for a while as well. When you focus on building a relationship with God, all other things become insignificant in comparison.

Lastly remember how special you are in the eyes of God; you are his best creation and he formed you in his image. Even if you were only person on this earth, Jesus still would have died on the cross for you.

“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27


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