With the rise of technology and social media platforms in the past few years, people now have a 24/7 window to look into the lives of those around us or in our world at any given time. Because of this, the temptation to compare our lives to others is one that is hard to avoid.
Comparison is not inherently a bad thing – when we are trying to learn some new ability we can compare ourself with someone who does it well to determine our progress. Sometimes seeing someone else accomplish a goal can even inspire us to work harder towards our own goals.
The problem comes when we are comparing ourselves with others and then berating ourselves because we feel we are coming up short. And most of the time it isn’t even an accurate comparison, because we are comparing our own behind the scenes view of our life, with someone else’s carefully crafted highlight reel.
Comparison generally produces one of two results. Either we come away feeling inferior and somehow less than, or we walk away with an attitude of superiority or better than thinking “at least I’m not as bad as he is.”
This tendency humans have towards comparison also shows up in the Christian walk. Even as far back as the 1st century, Paul was addressing those caught up in the ‘Comparison Trap’.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the image of a body to illustrate the relationships we are to have with others in the church. He wants us to see that the church is like a living body, and we are each like limbs or organs of that body.
Some in the Corinthian church were saying, “Since I am not like you, I have no value.” Others were saying, “Since you are not like me, you have no value.” Paul wanted them to understand that some of us are eyes and others are feet, and both are valuable to the body’s functioning.
By working together, we can each contribute with the gifts we have been given.
The way we get involved in ministry is to look for ways to serve others. We see a need, and if we can help, we do.
For instance, men who can fix an engine help those in the church who can’t afford to pay a mechanic.
Single moms can help each other with child care.
Families and singles help each other move.
Everyone can do something.
Everyone’s contributions are valued.
Each one of us has a vital and important role in the body of Christ – and when we get focussed on comparing our role with the roles of those around us, we generally end up losing focus on the work God calls us to do.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph. 2:10.
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.