Comparison is an indiscriminate sower, throwing seeds of disbelief and discontentment into any and every arena of life. Bodies or budgets, homes or sense of humor, marriages or ministries, she wreaks her havoc and steals joy wherever she is given an inch.
The Bible is clear that the Lord assigns differing lots to each of us, varied in gifts, families of origin, body shape and size, futures and families, to name a few.
The Lord is my chosen potion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16: 5-6.
Herein lies the simple secret to fighting the contgaion of comparison: an infinitely wise Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills has lovingly drawn up lot lines for each of us.
Herein lies the profound problem: we have wandering eyes and doubting hearts, both of which are convinced that the grass is greener.
One moment we can be sitting contentedly in the portion and lot the Lord has assigned us; the next, either consiciously or subconciously, we begin peaking through the boundaries and fences the Lord has compassionatley contained us within, playing the part of Peeping Tom on other’s lots. Suddenly the hand-picked lots apportioned to us lose their luster.
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis calls our penchant for constantly comparing what it is: pride.
“Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive…Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.”
Whether you find yourself smuggly on the top of the pecking order (pride) or groveling on the short end of the stick (insecurity) matters little. In both scenarios (and we will inevitably find ourselves falling into both), comparison has done its dirty deed, getting our eyes off of our loving lot-giver and unto ourselves.
Lewis apty describes pride as spiritual cancer, which, if allowed space and breathing room, “eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”
What are we to do when we discover a new tumor of this cancer of comparison in our lives? As this is a consistent cancer in my own soul, I have a memorable tool that postures me to gets my side-to-side wandering eyes looking up.
Repent. Run. Rest. Remember. Rejoice. 5 R’s for 5 fingers. My version of the Thanksgiving hand turkeys Thankful crafts that decorated our homes in elementary school.
Repent. Comparison is not a struggle or something that falls on us like the weather; it is sin. It is disbelief in the wisdom and love of the lot-assigner. Jesus did not mince words when Peter was sinfully concerned with the lot of his fellow disciple John in John 21. In typical Jesus fashion, He shot him straight, saying, “What does that matter to you. You follow me.”
Run. As soon we see comparison rearing its ugly head and wreaking its havoc in our souls, we must run to Jesus. We run home to the Cross in confidence that we have already been forgiven. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ” 1 John 1:9.
Rest. We must allow Jesus to re-introduce us to our lots, to re-settle us back into the places and portion He has assigned to us. Afterall, they are pleasant (Psalm 16). He is the Good Shepherd who makes us to lie down in green pastures, who leads us beside still waters. They may not look like that to us, but He knows infinitely more than us. We would do well to listen to David in Psalm 34. “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”
Remember. Comparison stems from a rotten belief that God is a God of scarcity, that we must hoard because there is not enough love, blesisng, attention, affection or good to go around. We must repalce that rotten lump with the root of the Biblical truth that our God is a God of Abundance. “O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love and with Him is plentiful redemption.” Psalm 130:7.
Rejoice. Having reacquainted ourselves with our abundant Father and resettled into our lot, we are now in a better place to see all the good gifts He has given us. Sometimes this praise to God will simply gush out of us Old Faithful style; however, other times, we make a conscious choice to rejoice, to thank God for our lot even when the grass appears dead and life is painful. “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.” Psalm 66: 16.