“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
One of my daily battles with sin is comparing myself to others. Before I go into more detail, I would like to address why, in fact, comparison is a sin. Mainly, it is a sin because of the tenth commandment that says do not covet. In other words, do not get jealous and desire something you do not have. Most people in today’s society probably don’t think comparing oneself to another is harmful or sinful towards anyone. However, when you compare yourself to another, you are committing a sin against several parties: God, yourself, and those you harbor close relationships with.
First, comparing yourself to others is a sin towards God because you are devaluing the creation He made! You are telling God, “Who you created me to be is not good enough for me. You do not know what you are doing.” Have you thought about how crazy that is? God knows every fiber of your being and has every day of your life planned, as said in Psalm 139:13-16: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well! My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” I do not know about you, but to me, that is not a God who does not care, who did not put intricate precision into His creation. He has had our plans and beauty in mind before we even took a breath! As stated in Matthew 10:30, He evens knows the number of every hair on our head! When you compare yourself to somebody, whether it be an outward physical appearance, a personality trait, or a strength, you are rejecting what God created.
Second, comparing yourself to others is a sin towards yourself because you are loathing in self-pity. You are loathing in self-pride. You create for yourself a pit of depression and misery, a life with no joy. If every moment of self-reflection is spent looking down at yourself, than you have no room to see all the goodness inside of you. There will be no self-confidence. I know this from personal experience. Anytime I fall into my pit of comparison, nothing is good enough for me. It does not matter what anyone says or does, nothing is good enough. It can be so bad sometimes that no one wants to be around me, which is where self-pride comes in. Whether they be bad thoughts or good thoughts, any thoughts centered on oneself are prideful. It’s not healthy, nor is it wise, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:12: “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
Third, comparing yourself to others is a sin towards those you harbor close relationships with because it opens the door to you comparing them to others on top of yourself! Once we began comparing ourselves to others, Satan has no trouble feeding lies, thus enticing and often causing us to throw the ones we love under the same bus. This becomes toxic and hurtful because they are not even involved. Comparison is a mind-game with yourself and Satan. No one else is involved unless you make them involved in your head. However, the fine line with that is once an idea of self-worth slips into your head, it will not conveniently leave. It will pry and pry and pry to where sooner or later, you aren’t the only one in the pit of depression and misery, so are the ones you love. That is the sad, true illustration of comparison being the thief of joy.
Our only hope is to cling to the grace of Jesus. It is not easy, but it is so worthwhile. In my weakest moments of comparison, I have to continuously remind myself who I am in Christ. No other truth about myself, my self-worth, or my identity is valid. I urge you brothers and sisters, cling to what is good, cling to the power of Jesus! He is the only ONE who can restore joy in your soul!