I remember, when Life Action came to my church nearly 3 1/2 years ago, one of the leaders gave an illustration to the youth that I have not forgotten.
I don’t remember his exact words, but here’s the gist of what he said.
He showed a picture of a ruler, and talked about how we create our own standards of holiness. We put people like Hitler down at the very bottom of the ruler, and other criminals pretty close to him. We put ourselves higher – closer to the top than to the bottom. Peers who do “more bad things than us” go a little below us, while above us go maybe a few people we really admire (our pastor, a famous missionary, the apostles, etc.). So we stand back and think, “I’m pretty well off! I’m not as bad as all those people below me, and I’m closer to the top than to the bottom. Yep, I’m a pretty good person.”
But remember, this is a ruler of our own standards. What about God’s standards?
It’s a humbling realization.
On the flipside….
The same Sunday a few weeks ago that I was remembering this illustration, I heard something on the Christian radio that followed a similar vein. They were talking about how we often compare ourselves to other people, and how sometimes we can get down about ourselves as a result. Our friends’ lives may seem picture-perfect, while ours seems like a mess. A friend seems to have so much more patience than we have. But they reminded us that we are comparing our worst with their best. We’re seeing the best side of them (usually), and then comparing that best with what we know ourselves to truly be. We forget that they have their own private shortcomings to deal with. The friend who seems so patient, may actually be less patient than we are!
So what’s the moral of today’s post?
Don’t think too highly of yourself and look down on other people. We’re all in the same boat. We all fall short of God’s glory.
On the other hand, don’t think so poorly of yourself that you get depressed and think everyone else has their act together. We’re all in the same boat. We all fall short of God’s glory.
Don’t worry about comparing yourself to others. Compare yourself to God, because that’s the only comparison that matters.