The Joy Thief
Comparison is something that is almost ingrained in my life. When I was in elementary school, it was whoever had the better grades. In junior high, it was noticing the brand name jeans others were wearing and longing for them myself. In high school and college, it was the makeup or hair or car or relationship status of others.
Now in adulthood, I think it is still easy to compare myself. The realization that someone else will always have that degree, that job title, that salary, that marriage, or that family is one that makes it hard to think of all that I have and instead focus on what I don’t.
When I focus on what I don’t have, I find my depression and anxiety heighten in fear of never obtaining these things I think I need or the things I desire.
Once I was saved, comparison didn’t go away, I simply shifted the parts of myself I was comparing. I now compared myself to those who memorized more verses than me, who didn’t seem to stumble as much as me, who seemed to “have it all together.” We’ve all heard the phrase that comparison is the thief of joy.
But I wanted to know what God said about this so that I could fight this joy thief.
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
The underlined section shows just how dangerous comparison can be. We can compare all day long with other people, but that is fruitless. It takes away from the one we are trying to live like- Jesus. Our striving should be to be like Him, not each other. Even though we can mentor and encourage one another, comparison doesn’t have purpose.
It’s like we are comparing broken pieces of glass to each other: no matter which are larger or broken in a prettier pattern,they are all broken and none are whole.
There are a few other truths from scripture that’s important to hold onto while fighting against comparison.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 ESV
God has already given us everything we could ever need; He’s sacrificed it all for you AND for me. Not one or the other. No one is left out. And, He has good things worked out for all of us individually. God’s goodness to us and love for us isn’t equated with giving us what we want when we want it or giving us something just because others have it.
He’s already given us the most important thing: an opportunity to be in a relationship with Him.
In Romans 5:8 from earlier, it says that he “…shows his love for usin that while wewere still sinners, Christ died for us.” Another person may have that job, salary, title, relationship, etc. that we want, but the truth is that we are all broken. We are all sinners, undeserving of God’s love and grace, but all bestowed with the gift of His sacrifice and the blessings of a relationship with Him. He is not withholding anything from any of us. In fact, He’s given us all much more than we deserve.
This truth is what should fuel our fight of the thief of joy. He is good, He is good to me, He is good to us, all the time.