“Some people create their own storms, then get upset when it rains.” – Rick White
From a very young age we fall into a, sometimes taught, habit to consistently carry around an invisible measuring stick. It starts off innocent.
“Am I faster?” “Am I cool enough?” “Do I have the best stuff; the best clothes?”
As we get older and get away from the small comparisons, it morphs into something much more destructive. While reading an article by Rick White, I ran across a term for this destructive behavior, Weapon of Self Destruction. Our comparisons have now entered into a danger zone.
“Am I prettier? I hate how small my hips are compared to hers. I wonder how much injections are.”
“You’re getting married? You two have only been dating a year, Craig and I have been dating 2 years and he thinks we need to work on ourselves, whatever.”
“Man, his girlfriend is so attractive and she likes things he likes. My girlfriend won’t even give it a chance. Maybe I should find someone else.”
“He just got a brand new car, man I’ve been riding around in this piece of junk for years and working just as hard. Maybe I should just get a new vehicle and deal with the consequences later.”
I can keep going on and on. Our current culture is full of reality TV and social media; I could do one stroll down a timeline and get you tons of these. The thing is, the bible is full of these same stories and give us a blueprint as to what comparisons will eventually do to us.
Starting from the beginning, Adam & Eve coveted what they perceived they didn’t have (Gen. 2-3). Their comparison as to what they didn’t have led to sin. In comparing himself to Abel and his offering, Cain was led to violence and murdered his own brother (Gen. 4). Sarai, Abraham’s wife, became so consumed with her inability to give birth that she led Abraham to Hagar (Gen. 16). Upon the birth of Ishmael, the comparisons only got worse. Saul became obsessed with comparing himself to David, so much so that he went crazy and lost his blessing.
I know some may question if comparing oneself can do so much danger, but I implore you to take a look at these 5 Destructive Outcomes of Comparing.
By Comparing, You Covet
“Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house…” Exodus 20:17
When we compare ourselves with others, we covet. It’s no different than what Adam & Eve did, therefore comparing leads us to sin. I’ve heard the argument, “I can stop it,” while continuing to surround themselves with the same behavior; still watching those videos that make you covet marriage or getting upset when your daydreamed car isn’t in the parking lot.
What’s worse is we take this same coveting behavior into the church. We see all of these members who’ve maybe been there longer or giving more and think, “How can we compare?” That leads us to not serve God’s kingdom, as we should, out of fear that your heavenly calling is based on some ranking order. Remember, coveting what your neighbor has is still a sin no matter how much your intentions are for betterment, not harm. In reality, it harms you.
You Pick Up Destructive Habits
“All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matthew 23:3
Our goal should be to live authentically, according to who we are in Christ. The world says the exact opposite, encouraging us to live like others or strive to be like them. Jesus warns against this in Matthew 23, encouraging the multitude and his disciples to observe the Pharisee but not to copy their works, as they didn’t walk the walk. Jesus called this hypocrisy out. So many people see others with hundreds, thousands, or millions of social media followers but they don’t know the exact story behind the lens.
They don’t know that the person may be struggling with depression or maybe they’re preaching to not do XYZ but they’re actually doing the exact same thing. This leads to so many people trying to copy the exact same lifestyle and it ends in brutal defeat. They pick up really bad habits, all to be like someone else. Is becoming popular really worth taking thousands of pictures a day in less than ideal settings, just for a like?
You Lose Your Identity
Comparing ourselves can ultimately lead us to forget who we are as an individual. You start to run someone else’s race so hard, to get what they have, that you forget about yourself. Listen, you must constantly remind yourself of your worth to God (Ephesians 2:10). Every person and situation; every relationship and blessing is unique and meant for that person(s). What’s meant for someone else isn’t always meant for you nor should it be.
I’ve seen some think that because someone else seems more spiritually sound, God is more pleased with him or her. So they start a false crusade to buy God’s love through half-hearted efforts or by doing things because it’ll lead them to what the other person has. In doing so, you completely lose yourself and become a clone of someone. Each of our testimonies is unique and God wouldn’t have it any other way.
You Rob Yourself of Joy
“Comparison is the death of joy” – Mark Twain
No matter what, comparing yourselves to others will ALWAYS lead to some form of dissatisfaction. You can’t enjoy your new gift because you know someone else got something better. You’re not happy with your engagement ring because Katie at work has a bigger diamond. Your car has been getting you back and forth to destinations since Sr. year, yet you won’t praise God until you get a brand new whip like everyone else. Comparisons are tiresome, exhausting, and every other similar verb you can think of. Do you call that enjoyment? I don’t, I’m not entertained in the least bit.
You Set Unrealistic Expectations
When you compare, you start to set unrealistic expectations that’ll never be fulfilled. You get that new Lexus but one of its new features isn’t what you thought it’d be. You’ve pressured your fiancée so much about getting married that the proposal was underwhelming; not to mention you acted a complete monster to the other person and now they feel pressured, you may even lose them. You’ve been so worried about getting the exact same outfit Beyoncé had in Lemonade, that when Becky with the good hair says its’ just okay, you feel deflated, you hoped for a better reaction.
Whatever you think the end outcome will be when you compare, it always ends up being lesser than. It never lives up to expectations. Why? It wasn’t meant to be your blessing from the get go.
We spend so much time comparing others and rushing our blessing that we end up losing sight of everything God has promised. All those dreams, visions, and passions God gave you have now taken the backseat because they’re not coming fast enough or it’s not exactly what so and so got. You can keep down that path, in all seriousness, but it’s one filled with self-destruction. God won’t be pleased and you’ll end up missing your blessing entirely, because you’re so close up on someone else’s life that you fail to see the blessings in your own. Don’t miss out, all because someone else HAS or GETS.