One of the realities of being human is that we often compare ourselves to others. There is something about our nature that has a natural drift to live in the land of “er”. We want our neighbor’s bigger house, our friend’s nicer car or our brother’s better boat. In the age of social media it just takes one scroll through Instagram or Facebook and we find ourselves playing the comparison game, wishing our lives looked like others. It’s easy to forget that we are seeing the highlights of their lives while comparing them to the daily grind of ours. There’s no one exempt from the comparison trap at some level or another.
Two of Jesus’ closest disciples even seemed inclined to play the same game. Their names were Peter and John. Jesus dearly loved both men, and it was that love that compelled them to run to the tomb when they received the news from Mary Magdalene that Jesus was no longer there. John, who wrote the Gospel of John, often referred to himself as the one whom Jesus loved. That might say enough right there about his issue of comparison. However we see it more clearly in John 20:3,5,8 in his commentary on their sprint to the tomb. John writes,
“So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first… Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”
As we read John’s explanation it’s not a stretch to see that John and Peter had a little competition going on about who was faster. John wants to make sure that we know that Peter was last!
Certainly we see the humor in his writing, but there’s nothing funny about falling into the rut of comparing ourselves to others. Comparison is a cancer. It’s a race that we can never win. There will always be something or someone newer, better, bigger, faster, or stronger. Someone once said, “The fastest way to kill something special is compare it to something else.” Whenever we play the comparison game we lose our joy, purpose and creativity. New things stop happening in our marriage, family and work when we fall into the comparison deception. God has uniquely created us. Let’s fix our eyes on Christ, because we can’t become the “me” we were meant to be if we are always comparing ourselves to others.