How much do you compare yourself to others? Do you compare your financial situation to your friend’s? Do you compare your physical appearance to how others look? Or, maybe you compare your circumstances to those you see on social media. When you do, you usually end up feeling bad about yourself because you think you are less than others, or you end up feeling great, thinking you are better than others.
In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus points out that our relationship with God is not based on comparing ourselves to others, but on the realization that God is perfect. The two men in the story come to the Temple to pray to God with two very different attitudes. One man tells God how great he is compared to all the other sinners. It’s as if he is telling God, “Look how much better I am than these people. Aren’t you impressed?” The other man compares himself not to other people but comes with the realization that he is a sinner in need of God’s mercy. He comes humble, sorrowful, and repentant upon comparing himself with God. Jesus says that man left right with God, not the one who looked better in comparison.
It almost seems ridiculous to compare ourselves to others as if that matters to God. When you think about the grandness, the perfection, the holiness, of God, the only way to come to Him is with humbleness, begging for mercy, acutely aware of our own sin. Jesus points this out when He says, “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Family Life Director