Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Critical Condition of Comparison

Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.~ Proverbs 27:4

Have you ever felt like the outsider?  Have you ever sat in a room full of people, and felt like you just didn’t fit in? Maybe other people made you feel that way, or maybe it was all in your head.  Either way, that feeling that creeps up on you when you feel “out of the loop” can fuel the flame and fire up the green-eyed monster of jealousy in us.

The court system has even termed a defense where jealousy is involved.  They call it a crime of passion.  Between 1976-2005, 30% of female homicide victims in the United States were killed by someone intimate with them in a crime of passion where jealousy was the motive.

Looking at the passage above from Proverbs, it says that jealousy is even more dangerous than wrath, which is being compared to a flood.  The visualization that I get is one being swept away by their emotions: totally out of control and just going wherever the tide takes them while trying to keep their head above water.  As a mom, I want to instill the kind of confidence in my children that they never feel that way. 

What can we do when our child comes home and is heartbroken because her two best friends have now become closer, and are starting to leave her out?  Not only that, what can we do if that happens to us as adults?  That’s a hurtful situation and being jealous is a natural response.  It can make you feel like you aren’t good enough, funny enough, and that you’re just not a likeable person when people get to know the real you.

Have you ever had a friend who constantly compares their child’s academic, athletic or artistic performance to yours?  Imagine how you feel as the parent and then try to think how your child must feel when they are compared to the other person.  “Comparison is the thief of joy” is a popular quote, and a very true one.  You will never find joy while comparing your life to others, because there is always someone who has it better in one area or another.

God made each of us as a unique creation.  No two people are alike.  No two lives are the same.  Each of us is on a journey that He intended for us, and if we seek His will in it, we will find blessings in each circumstance.  But HOW???

  • ·          When you begin to feel inferior in any way, and think about how to take action to combat it, ask yourself “Does this glorify God or does it glorify me?”.  You have been put into this situation for a reason, how can you make the best of it?
  • ·         Don’t apologize to your kids if they have to drive a used Ford instead of a new BMW to school.  Explain that their treasure is in heaven, remind them to be thankful for such a luxury, and don’t allow yourself or them to fall into that comparison trap.
  • ·         Write out your emotions, old school style.  Take out a pen and a piece of paper, and write a letter to the person who makes you feel envious.  Say whatever you want.  Then rip it up and throw the pieces away.  You might actually be surprised how emotionally freeing that can be.
  • ·         PRAY!  Ask God to take the feeling away, and replace it with love and appreciation.

Don’t let the focus on material possessions, or perfect grades, or wearing a certain size dress get to you.  You were made for a purpose.  Ask God to show you what it is, and focus on the positive things in life.  I would bet if you started listing the positives vs negatives…the positive side would be longer. 

Passages to Ponder:

John 3:27- John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.”

Galatians 6:4- Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.

Matthew 6:33- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Kathy Derda, and Kim McClure

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