Have you ever felt that way? Have you seen your friend’s kids making straight A’s on their report cards and thought, “Why not my kids?” Have you ever looked at someone else’s house and wondered why can’t I have that too? Have you ever looked at your neighbor’s husband and wondered why doesn’t mine take out the trash? Or why doesn’t my yard look like theirs? Or why don’t my kids behave as well? Or why can’t I have a spiffy car like the red convertible that just passed me on the road? It’s easy to do: the comparison game. And it’s dangerous. Writers do it this way: how come that writer made the NY Times list? Or got such a great cover? Or deal? We’ve all compared. I have, I’m ashamed to admit. And it can be extremely harmful.
Even the apostles compared. Which one is most loved? Who’s going to sit next to Jesus in heaven? Peter said in John 21, “Lord, what about him?” Peter wanted to know if John was going to suffer a horrible death as Jesus just predicted Peter would. Jesus answered, “what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Here’s what comparisons do. They cause us to either feel inferior…or superior. Neither is good. Neither is productive. Comparing our circumstances to others can also stoke the fire of anger in us. It can make us ask: does God not love me as much as He loves my friend or neighbor or whoever it is driving that spiffy convertible?
Here’s what James 3:16 tells us: “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Ouch.
It’s very much like when Peter jumped out of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus. A miracle indeed! But then Peter took his eyes off Jesus and saw the waves and felt the wind. And that’s what happens when we start comparing. Our eyes are on everything else around us BUT Jesus. “Follow me!” Jesus said. And that is the key.