Whether we like it or not, it seems that comparison is something we all deal with. When we are young the comparisons vary from who is faster, taller or stronger to who has the biggest or best toy. Parents can even inadvertently fuel this by comparing siblings. The almost cliched, "Why can't you be more like your brother/sister?' has damaged countless relationships. It stays with us into adulthood, comparing houses and vehicles, as well as success in the business world. In the greater scheme of things comparison really begins to breed contempt for others or pride in ourselves. Within the family setting it kills intimacy and often brings nothing but hurt feelings.
In the parable of the prodigal son we see comparison rear its ugly head. At the return of the wayward brother the older brother is not having it. He compares how he has lived his life to how his brother has. Pride takes hold. "But he answered his father, " Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat , that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!" John 15:29-30. By comparing his actions with those of his brother the older sibling missed the point that he always had the father and what was his. This is how comparison works. We miss out on the beauty and depth of our relationships when we are constantly comparing ourselves to others.
It can be easy to compare ourselves to others in relationships with God and friends and family. There will always be someone who seems better at this or that, but we must always be aware that God has created us wonderfully. Each one of us is unique in any number of ways. By comparing we rob ourselves and others of that uniqueness. My prayer is that we can cut comparison out of our lives and begin to reflect the image God has given us back to him in love.
It's time for me to personally stop reverting to comparing others within my family and focus on the special unique people that they truly are. It's time to stop comparing my own walk with Christ to others and realize that God has planned each step amazingly. We have Him and that is more than enough. We always have him, and like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Happy Thanksgiving!