Compare/Comparison

<<contrast, evaluate>>

God has given us the capacity to make assessments of many kinds but how we use this ability is important. The book of Proverbs has many sayings that contrast two opposites and their different outcomes. We can learn from considering these. Jesus also used comparisons in some of His parables and He used the illustration of the wise and foolish builders to compare the vastly different responses and actions of those listening to His teaching (Mt 7:24-27).

Comparisons or judgements of others can lead to pride, bring self-condemnation, jealousy and criticism or result in favouritism (1 Sam 18:7-9). However, there is a place for constructive analysis of situations – observing and see where improvements can be made in the future, with rewards inspiring us to do better. We all have different abilities that we should use and develop, as we will ultimately be held accountable for them and how we have fulfilled our life’s assignment, yet our real value is based on who we are ‘in Christ’ and not any activity or results we may achieve (Rom 14:12).

There will always be others better or worse off than we are, and comparing ourselves to them will not result in a valid appraisal of our true worth and position before God or in society (2 Cor 10:12). God deliberately made us unique, with different abilities and functions – just like our bodies, where various parts perform different tasks and yet work harmoniously together (Rom 12:3,6; 1 Cor 12:12ff).

We often try to evaluate ourselves (in a favourable or unfavourable light) by comparison to others, however our role model and standard should be Christ. We should always try to do our best while knowing His loving acceptance will provide comfort (after repenting) when we fail (Gal 6:4). When we have done the best job possible, we can have

    Christ is the only sinless one –                                   He is my standard

satisfaction in our own accomplishments without comparing ourselves to anyone else. So stop looking to others as the measure of who you should be but as you work alongside them observe their good points and try to incorporate those qualities into your life while guarding against the undesirable things.

The only measure of comparison we should be concerned about is our obedience – how we measure up to the Word of God and the standard of lifestyle Christ displayed – not the attitudes or actions of others. After being told he would become a martyr, Peter questioned Jesus about another disciple’s fate and was told, ‘that’s none of your business’, your responsibility is to be faithful in what I have called you to do (Jn 21:18-22).

Comparing highlights the differences, so it is unwise for parents to single out the achievements of one child as a standard for others to attain. As each has varying abilities, they should all be encouraged to do their best, and not condemned but still loved regardless of whether they fail or succeed.

There is a huge contrast of lifestyle and final destination between the righteous and unrighteous, either receiving life or experiencing death (Ps 1:1-6; Mal 3:18; Mt 25:46; Gal 6:7,8; 1 Pet 3:12). While some sins are greater than others and have corresponding greater consequences, they all are sin and need the cleansing blood of Christ applied.

See also: competition, contrast, favouritism, impartial, judging, Proverbs.

 


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