Monday, October 1, 2007

Minding My Own Business

Consider the following scripture verse when tempted to compare yourself with others.

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV) "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."

Not all comparisons are foolish but they can be destructive. In today's post and the next one, there are seven things I want to share about comparisons:

1. Comparisons make even the most advantaged persons feel dissatisfied.

Comparisons lead to dissatisfaction because they are relative; no matter how well off we are, someone else always has more.

2. Inappropriate comparisons focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we have.

Ahab, King of Samaria, had a lot: money, power, land, and more. One day, though, he realized that the vineyard of his neighbor, Naboth, would make a nice royal garden. He set his heart on it and made an offer: “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden,” said Ahab, “since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”

That sounds fair. But we have little or no grasp of the significance of an inheritance to an Israelite. To Naboth, this was not merely property; this was his family’s inheritance from Yahweh, going back generations. This land represented their security, their heritage. A noble Israelite did not offhandedly sell a few acres of his inheritance and buy something else. With revulsion, Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”

Ahab went home sullen and angry, like a spoiled rich kid whose mother had refused him a candy bar in the checkout line. Ahab lay on his bed feeling sorry for himself. He was oblivious to his vast holdings and was fixated on a little patch of potential garden. Such is the pathetic sight of an advantaged person who has indulged in irrational comparison.

3. Inappropriate comparison is selective and therefore deceptive.

I fool myself when I compare myself with a few desirable aspects of someone else’s life, ignorant of the undesirable side. Do I really want to step into that person’s shoes?

There are two sides to every coin and two sides to every life.

To be continued…

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