We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
“Comparisons are odious” was a phrase commonly used in the 14th Century; well, comparisons are still odious in the 21st Century! If you want to shrink the size of your life down to the size of your life, there is one proven method: simply start comparing yourself with others.
Perhaps there is no better example of just how odious comparisons truly are than the parable that our Lord told about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee thanked God—not for the blessings God had bestowed upon him, but rather he prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11).
Notice what the Pharisee did not do. He did not compare himself to men like Abraham, the father of the faith . . . or Job, who was blameless and upright . . . or Noah, a righteous man who walked with God. The Pharisee probably would not have measured up quite as well against such men! But he was happy to consider himself superior to obvious sinners.
Comparing ourselves in either direction is odious, and it creates barriers against growing into the people God is calling us to be. Perhaps we compare ourselves with those who are appear to be doing worse than we are, so that we can feel better about ourselves, as the Pharisee did. He smugly compared himself to those who were considered the dregs of society. By putting others down, the Pharisee, in his own eyes, lifted himself closer to God.
Or maybe we compare ourselves with those who seem to be doing far better than we are, and thus end up feeling worse about ourselves. We look around at all the rich and famous people and wonder why we are not as prosperous and popular as they are, and soon we are dealing with envy and resentment. Either way we compare . . . it is odious.
So what is the cure for the disease of “comparisonitis”? We remember that God has a perfect plan for our imperfect lives. We must not compare ourselves with others in any direction, either above us or below us; instead we are to “confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us” (2 Corinthians 10:13).
Each one of us is different and we are all imperfect. But God, in His infinite wisdom, has a perfect purpose, plan, and place for each one of us to serve Him faithfully. Remember, we are simply called to be faithful . . . God supplies the increase and makes us fruitful. Keep looking up to Jesus, and you won’t have any time to look around and compare yourself with others.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!