It’s safe to bet that you fall prey to one the dangers I’m going to address. You may not even realize it. What are the dangers you might ask? It all begins with one word.
The trap of comparing can destroy your view of others worth and your own self-worth. Self–Worth becomes a matter of what you can do rather than the intrinsic value God has placed in each of us. Once you start, it’s super hard to stop, and the comparing starts to branch out into every aspect of your life. Do I believe all comparing is harmful? No. Comparing in itself is not bad. You compare which shoe gives you the best support and buy the one that fulfills your need. You compare between consumer reports to find out which car gets the best gas mileage and is reliable overall. Comparing is essential to our lives. But to every coin there is another side. Here are the four areas I believe comparing becomes dangerous.
Danger 1: Comparing sin. Situations like this happen so often. I said an unkind word to my neighbor– BUT he slept with his girlfriend! Then to top it off the following is added. I have kept all my relationships pure in God’s eyes. Pat on the back. Good for me. I have just minimized my sin by comparing it to someone else’s sin, and trying to divert from my sin by highlighting my goodness. Is that really dealing with the issue?
“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Comparing can become a very dangerous game. Instead of dealing with sin, and celebrating how God is working in people’s lives, we hide behind the comparisons. We compare faults in order to elevate our standing in the eyes of others without confronting our own problems.The attempt to minimize sin is shifting the blame.To shift the blame we have to move in for the kill so to speak. Someone else must take the fall. And in survival of the fittest we must harp on others’ weaknesses. Is that God’s way?
If comparing sin does take place, let it be a comparison between my sin and God’s righteousness.
“But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;” Isaiah 64:6
If I compare my sin to God’s righteousness then the gravity of my sin will always be before my eyes, and my need for God’s help will be ever present. If I compare myself to others, only a few sins will be dealt with while the rest are swept under the rug of self-righteousness.