Second Corinthians 10:12
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
Compared to What?
I’ve heard the phrase “compared to what” used a lot when we compare things, circumstances or ourselves with anyone or our life issues with nearly anything, but it almost always turns out to be a bad idea. When something bad happens and someone says, “Well it’s not that bad,” the response I hear a lot is “compared to what.” Have you heard that before? I hate comparing my problems with other people’s because we are all so different, and we all have such differing thresholds for pain that it‘s usually not a fair comparison. Paul knew that it was very unwise to compare ourselves to others because we really don’t realize what or whom we’re supposed to be compared against.
At Least I’m Not…
When I was witnessing to a stranger the other day, he was convinced that he was a pretty good person, but compared to whom? Compared to his own ideas of what is good and what is bad. God’s idea is that we need to be perfect, having the required righteousness of Christ. I reminded him that none of us are really good, not even one of us (Rom. 3:10); it’s just that we’ve been forgiven by a very good God. He said, “Well, at least I’m not a murderer,” but I told him that each of us will have to stand and give an account for what we’ve done in this life (Rom. 14:12; 1 Cor. 5:10) and that God will not say, “Well, compared to your neighbor there, you’re a pretty good guy.” No, we will stand alone, and God won’t say, “Okay, I’ll wait until you find someone who’s worse than you and then judge you according to how bad they are.” Try that in a court of law. I can guarantee that it won’t work.
The Foolishness of Comparison
Paul said that not only is it foolish to compare ourselves with others, but we dare not even try to classify ourselves in a certain standing before God based upon what we think (2 Cor. 10:12a). Jesus said that we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48) and that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees (Matt. 5:20), so that presents a problem. Nothing sinful or imperfect can even enter heaven (Rev. 21:27). We must compare ourselves to the model of Christ and not others, and that’s a pretty high bar to reach, but there is a solution. For those who have repented and trusted in Christ, they will be seen as having the same righteousness as Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Problem solved.
A Closing Prayer
Father, please help me to not compare my own behavior or life against that of others because that is not the standard to which You will judge us. I know that I must have Jesus’ own righteousness and thank You, God, that You made that possible, and in Christ’s name I pray.
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