You may already know that it’s unhealthy to compare yourself with others. Even so, it can still be tempting. The natural inclination in all of us is to see how we stack up to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. The thing is, it never gets us anywhere.
Here’s why comparison is such a bad idea:
- Comparison tends to be rooted in judgement.
The Bible is clear that judging is a sin (Matthew 7:1-6), yet it’s still very common among Christians. We judge someone whenever we add or subtract value to them as a human being. Such behavior stands in sharp contrast to Christ’s demonstration on the cross that everyone has inherent, infinite worth. Our job as believers is simply to agree with God and see people through his eyes.
When we compare ourselves with others, it usually results in:
- Subtracting value from ourselves
- Subtracting value from others
- Adding value to ourselves
- Adding value to others
None of that is healthy because God already declared that everyone is 100% valuable. When we quit playing judge and stop the comparison game we become freed up to focus on loving God, loving ourselves, and loving others (Matthew 22:36-40).
- Comparison is usually an expression of insecurity.
Insecure people often gloat when someone struggles and get jealous when someone succeeds. They can’t truly “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15) because they get their significance from being better than others.
But when we find our security in God’s love, we no longer need to go around keeping score. We know that God is with us, for us, and on our side (Romans 8:31-39). Being secure helps us be comfortable in our own skin. It allows us to drop our guard and be honest about our weaknesses, and in the end it makes us much better friends.
- Comparison keeps us from running well.
The Bible says that the Christian life is like running a race. When we stand before God to give an account (Romans 14:12), he will not ask if we ran faster than him or slower than her. Instead, he will ask how well we ran our race. Did we use the talents and opportunities he gave us to their full extent, or did we get distracted and off-mission?
It’s so easy to measure our progress by the speed of others, but as Christians we’re called to a higher standard. God has given each of us unique gifts, talents, and opportunities that he wants to be used for his glory. Every runner has their own speed. Don’t sell yourself short by easing up because you’re ahead of the pack. And don’t pull a hamstring because you’re trying to catch someone way ahead of you.
The goal is to reach the end and hear God say, “’Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:23).