The Comparison Trap
James 3:16-17 (ESV)
"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere."
How many fights in your relationships have been deeply rooted in jealousy and triggered over another person’s relationships? Or another person’s clothes? Or another person’s blessings?
Just last night, I got in a major funk with my husband because I had been on social media (the root of all our comparison issues, right?) and seen a fun adventurous date that a friend had been on with their husband. I proceeded to ask Daniel what he wanted to do tomorrow night, tomorrow night being Friday night, our usual date night. He proceeds to say, “maybe we can do an easy dinner and then I’ll get some work done.”
Cue my usual pouting silent treatment. Mind you, Daniel had just worked 12 hours and was barely able to pay attention to anything I was saying, and probably didn’t even know the next day was Friday.
"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice…"
Within minutes, I had created disorder in our home. Daniel was so confused why I was upset. I wasn’t speaking. Another person’s joy had stolen mine, and the evening with my husband was slowly dissolving because I was choosing jealousy over honesty and contentment.
One of the best quotes I ever heard was that women are the thermostats in their homes. They have the power set the temperature of everyone’s mood, and the direction that an entire day and night will go. What I should have done instead of make enemies with my husband over something so trivial was allow him to know my hurt feelings. By allowing Daniel to know my heart, he could better lead our relationship, but by giving him the slitter treatment, I just left him confused and sad.
You see, we get into trouble when our point of comparison is with anything or anyone other than Christ.
I was comparing my marriage to someone else’s fun date nights -- their highlight reel. Maybe you are comparing your spiritual maturity with someone else’s. Your weight, your looks, your calling, your house. Do you see the trend here? The only person we should be comparing ourselves to is Jesus - his actions, his words, his love.
What a ripple effect comparing ourselves to Jesus would do in the reality of our relationships not only with our spouses, but with our friends, family, and children. We would love better, serve better, and lead better.
Father, thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit to help guide us in our actions. Forgive us for when we choose to act selfishly instead of listening to the ways you have taught us to love and speak to others. Guide us in our words, our service, and in our relationships so that we may better shine your love to others.