Solutions June 2018 - Page 45

melt away. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something speed past me, the fastest kid ever. I spoke to my arms and legs, summoning them to new levels of performance. I gave that race all that I had, but it was not enough. For the first time in my young life, I was second. Embarrassed and ashamed, I went home in tears. Soon after that, I lost interest in athletics. Baffled, my parents tried to talk with me about what had happened. But how could an eight-year-old articulate the feeling of an ancient and primal force taking hold of his still-developing soul? Comparison and the Soul Comparison is the root of most of the misery we feel in life. Comparison makes it impossible to view ourselves from any sort of godly perspective. It is an absolute snare for the soul. Consider what comparison does to our view of others. First, when we compare ourselves with those we perceive to be better than we are in any given area of life, the comparison produces a sense of inferiority and insecurity. Whenever we see those people, they become reminders that we don’t have what it takes and are falling behind. We feel we must toil and strive to keep up. Yet the harder we try to do that, the more we’re caught in a cycle of despair. Comparison erodes our sense of worth and self- esteem. And it has a flip side. When we compare ourselves with people we perceive to be inferior to us, we are filled with a sense of superiority. The people around us become constant reminders of how good we are and how well we are doing, and judgment and pride creep in. Those controlled by forces of comparison have unstable and insecure souls. “ Comparison makes it impossible to view ourselves from any sort of godly perspective.” Comparison and Community Comparison not only creates an ulcer in the source of our self-worth but also makes it impossible for us to love deeply in community. As followers of Jesus, we are called to lives of sacrificial love, but it’s impossible to give our hearts and lives away to those whom we must better in order to determine our worth. Comparison is the enemy of compassion. In James 3 we read about the consequences that are unleashed when we use others for our own security. “If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Have you ever experienced the shock of discovering this at church? Expecting to find love, you find people treating others as commodities, manipulating and using them to feel good about themselves. Solutions • 45