I’m not a big game player. When we have friends over, we rarely pull out the cards or game board. But I have been know to engage in a nasty little diversion I think you’ll all recognize. It’s the ever addicting past time where everyone’s a loser called: “Let’s Compare!”
As a woman, I’m an excellent player having practiced from an early age. No matter the category…houses, clothes, weight, husbands, kids, talents…I play often and competitively. But, as I just stated, I’m always the loser. the other day I played, in my mind, a rousing game in the spiritual category; comparing spiritual gifts, effectiveness, God’s love, and maturity level with some of my sisters in Christ.
When I’d exhausted myself mentally, I realized, yet again, that the outcome is always the same. It’ a ridiculous vain pursuit, this comparison game. Much like tic tack toe…always ending in scratch.
Upon reflection, I decided there are only three possible endings in the comparison game:
1. feel like a complete and total loser because of how short we fall
B. judge the other person so we’ll feel better about ourselves or
3. (my personal favorite) accuse God of not caring about us as much as others because if He cared, He’d make us ok.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
Paul’s words to the Romans bring both comfort and conviction to me. Inherent in the verse is permission, even exhortation, not to compare and that, of course in comforting. Conviction because I begin to realize that my comparisons come from a place of pride…a place of dissatisfaction with what God’s given me, with how He’s made me…a place that demands what I think I deserve and screams out “I want more for me!”.
A few verses later, after Paul names several different gifts and talks about how we all have different strengths that we should use whole-heartedly, he says “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10
“You are not here for you” once again resounds in my head, ever calling me out of myself and into community…calling me away from the comparison game and into a more satisfying match of out-loving or out-gracing or out-giving my brothers and sisters…calling me away from pride and back to the foot of the cross where true selflessness exists.