Comparison Is The Thief of Joy -Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison is the thief of joy, because it usually results in two possible outcomes; either a sense of superiority or inferiority. If we think we’re better than others, we may become prideful and if we think we’re less than others, we may be tempted to envy and jealousy; which can lead to coveting.
Whether we are prideful or jealous we are endangering ourselves, because left unchecked these sins can result in negative consequences.
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
As a young child, I compared myself with others and always felt like I didn’t quite measure up. I would like to say that I no longer struggle with comparison, but that wouldn’t be true. I still struggle with comparison. For example, I think if only I had what they have; then I would be content. But, would I? A desire fulfilled is often disappointing and soon replaced with another.
Comparison is the thief of joy, because when we compare ourselves to others; we will either feel superior or inferior.
Comparison is harmful when it causes us to feel superior to others; because we may have an exaggerated sense of self-worth or importance. People may not enjoy our company. Arrogance is unattractive and the Bible has a lot to say about the dangers of pride and the benefits of humility.
Proverbs 16:8 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (NIV)
Proverbs 29:23 says, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” (NIV)
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (NIV)
Comparison is the thief of joy, when it causes us to feel inferior to others. We may feel less than and sub-standard to others. We may be imagining that others have better lives than we do, but often times we’re not seeing the whole picture.
It can be difficult to avoid comparison with social media and the fact that most images are altered or enhanced in some way.
Comparison is the thief of joy, because when we compare ourselves to others, we are looking to them instead of God for our self-worth. This may result in envy and jealousy; which can lead to coveting, ingratitude, anger and bitterness.
The Bible has a lot to say about envy and jealousy:
1 Peter 2:1 says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” (NIV)
Proverbs 14:30 says, “It’s healthy to be content, but envy can eat you up.” (CEV)
Proverbs 27:4 says “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy.” (NIV)
So, what can we do? We can approach comparison as something that needs to be conquered.
We can confess our sin and ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20). We can rely on Him to produce His wonderful fruit in our lives, including joy (Galatians 5:22-23). He can help us to give thanks for our blessings and for those He gives to others as well.
So then, is comparison ever appropriate? Yes, we can compare ourselves with the Word of God!
The Bible says we should evaluate ourselves honestly; having a humble and accurate view of ourselves.
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” (Romans 12:3 NLT)
It’s helpful to realize that all of our blessings are gifts from God, thus instead of pride and jealousy, we can practice contentment and thanksgiving to God instead.
1Timothy 6:6-8 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (NIV)
Do you struggle with comparison?
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