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Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Galatians 6:4 (NCV)

One of the most dangerous games we play is the comparison game. Watch a couple children at play. It’s not long before they compare toys, the clothes they are wearing, how tall they are, hair color and a variety of other things. As we get older the rules change somewhat, but the game is the same. We measure ourselves by the yardstick of other people.

Those in struggling marriages look at their friends spouse and say, ‘If only my spouse was like him/her.’

We look at someone else’s child and say, ‘If only my son/daughter would be like so and so’.

We do it at church. ‘I wish I could pray like she does; preach like he does; sing like they do.’

Pastors do it when they measure success rates by the number of people in the pews, the number of baptisms, or by flaunting the number of salvations like a WW1 pilot, stamping the icon on their pulpit.

Writers do it when we measure our success by the books we have published, the blog readers we have or the accolades we get. (Yeah, I know. That one hurts.)

One of the many problems with the comparison game is that it works in reverse as well. When life goes wrong for you, when the relationships fail, the finances fall short, the decisions you make put you in the ‘one of those’ category, comparisons hurt.

It was the comparison game the brought the woman to the well that hot day to meet Jesus. Self-respecting women went to get water in the morning. She went at noon when there was less chance of meeting people, less chance of being looked down on, less chance of the comparison game.

There is subtleness to the comparison game. Well-meaning Sunday School teachers and preachers speak against pride in such a way that we might think we should never be proud of our accomplishments. Never feel good about the work we do or the talents we have lest the ugly serpent ‘pride’ shows up.

Galatians is the book of grace. The book of freedom in Christ. Paul tells us Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Galatians 6:4 (NCV)” The message is really two-fold. On the one hand I will never look at my talents and abilities and make you feel inferior. God made you the way he did. I’ll accept that.

On the other hand, I too am a child of God. I have different gifts talents and abilities. Life has taken me down a different road than it’s take you. That doesn’t make me less loved of God. That doesn’t make me less of his child. I will not allow your opinion of me to alter, in any way, my opinion of myself (in Christ) or my opinion of you.

PRAYER: Lord thank you for making me, me. I have bruises and blemishes. I fail (sometimes miserably) and sometimes I need an attitude adjustment. Still, you love me and for that I am eternally grateful. Keep me from comparing myself to others. Protect me from those intent on comparing themselves to me. Amen.

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