We are experts in comparison. As kids, teenagers, and adults - comparison doesn't really change, we evaluate ourselves based on how we measure up to the people around us. Did we get more than them? Are we better than them? Do people like me more than them?
@@Comparison is a trap.@@
At times you'll make a comparison that makes you feel better - you're not like that person. And other times you'll feel like garbage - because you don't measure up to that person. Neither of those is truly helpful.
You will never win when you compare yourself to others. In Galatians 6:3-5, Paul addresses this within the Church when he writes:
"If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load."
At least I'm not like them? At least I never did that? At least I'm better than that person? Paul's being intentional about confronting comparison in this letter because he's writing to recovering Pharisees - people who are well known for elevating their goodness in order to point out every one else's badness.
And so Paul says, "If you think you're good because you compared yourself to somebody worse, check yourself."
Look in the mirror.
Be honest about your own sin because the moment you're honest about your own sin it will slow you down enough to truly see yourself. When you honestly begin to see yourself in light of the Law, it also opens the door to see yourself in light of the promises of Jesus.
When you compare yourself to others, you choose to see yourself by what you are not. You're not that person. But what if you saw you the way that Jesus sees you? When God looks at you, he doesn't see your sin he sees Christ who died in your place. When God looks at you, he doesn't see the badness that you want to hide, he sees the goodness that Christ offered on your behalf. God sees you as his child - holy, loved, and redeemed.
This will change you.
When you feel the need to ensure that you aren't *that person* you will belittle, betray, and abandon the people in your life the moment it is most beneficial to you. But when you see you the way that Jesus sees you, this changes. @@When you see you the way that Jesus sees you, you will begin to see others the way Jesus sees them.@@
And so, when Paul talks about our relationships, this is what he understands - God's work is not merited by you but it will change you. A Gospel-shaped identity will produce better relationships. The moment your identity is shaped by Christ, you stop looking for other people to give what only Christ can give. You stop looking for security, worth, and value in what they can give, and you find it in what Christ can give.
And then you are freed in your relationships to love, to serve, to give, and to receive with no strings attached, because you have everything you need in Christ. You don't need to rely on your friends, your family or your work for your approval, your worth, or your identity, because you have it in Christ.