Did you ever get on Facebook or Instagram to see what someone else is doing and find yourself kind of jealous, or maybe feel a bit inferior in some way? This is not uncommon. It is a pitfall of a larger sociological pattern called 'social comparison.' The same thing can happen at parties or other social events. Many people fall into the same trap at family gatherings or class reunions. This is a dangerous situations for a couple of reasons.
First, we get a skewed look at the lives of others when we judge them by selfies and posts about their personal lives. By and large we try to make ourselves out to be better than we are, and we post the highlights of life. People have gender reveals about their baby. Nobody posts a big ramp up to the morning sickness. Some people are discouraged to find themselves watching The Price Is Right all alone while their college roommate posts a cute video of the revelation party where she tells she is pregnant with twins... a boy and a girl. And of course, it is so cute, the video goes viral. But the same person doesn't feel the same measure of joy when they are enjoying a wonderful breakfast at Cracker Barrel while that pregnant friend is hanging over a toilet puking her guts out. So, we end up comparing ourselves only to the good stuff. That's not fair to us or the other person.
But we also need to understand our design. God did not design us to compare ourselves to the greatness of others. That is an unfair burden that we simply cannot successfully bear. We were each given different talents and gifts. God blesses each one in a different way. He does not expect us all to make the same amount of money or have the same number of children. Success is meted out by God at varying degrees according to His master plan. When I judge my success by another's it is unfair to both parties. But...
While I am not to bear the weight and pressure of my best friend's successes, I am to bear their burdens. This is interesting. God did not design us the ability to successfully compare ourselves with others, but He did give us the ability to successfully show compassion to others. Think about it... comparing yourself to others you admire never results in a greater sense of significance, security, or self-worth. It nearly always takes you to a place of insignificance, insecurity, and self-loathing. Again, there are several things going on that we don't take into account when we compare ourselves, especially on social media. But comparison rarely works out well for us. Comparison nearly always leads to depression. But compassion nearly always leads to deliverance.
On the other hand, when we exhibit compassion by bearing one another's burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ which is love. Jesus didn't compare Himself to others. Instead, He found those who were struggling and He sacrificed for them. It was ultimately through His sacrifice that He achieved the glory we now see. The Father exalted Jesus because He humbled Himself, not because He tried to exalt Himself, or because He played a game of comparison with those around Him. We as believers are born again in the image of Christ. We bear His mark. That in itself is our success. We don't need to compare ourselves with the best or worst among us. We need to bear one another's burdens. And in doing so we will find that significance, security, and self-worth that eludes us when we play the comparison game.
Compare yourself to yourself. Enjoy whatever success Christ brings to your life. Rejoice in what you accomplish through Him. Give Him glory. Rejoice in the success of others. Trust Him with your struggles today. Cast all of your concerns upon Him because He is concerned about you. Crush the spirit of comparison and look for opportunities to exercise the compassion God gave you. If you do this you will enjoy your relationships and interactions much more.
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