Don’t Dare to Compare It Can Lead To Despair

After His resurrection Jesus met with His disciples one last time. He explained to Peter how he would eventually die. “This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’”

“Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following him who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’” (John 28: 18-22) In effect, don’t be concerned about him. Don’t compare yourself to him.

Most of us grew up playing one of three games: “You are.” “I wish.” “I am.”

Older people defined life for us saying you are dumb, you are smart or some other characteristics, so we became as defined .

Then as we grew we started playing another game: “I wish I was as good looking as…, or as popular as…” or other people’s traits.

Most outgrow the first two of these, but many never outgrow the third by comparing themselves to others. It is one of Satan’s most subtle sins and can lead to despair or egotism. 

Leading up to our text, Peter had just lived down his pre-crucifixion denial of Jesus and boldly declared his post resurrection love for Jesus. Then Jesus said,  “Peter you are going to love; lead for me, you will show great courage for me by dying for me.” Immediately after this affirmation Peter sees John and compares himself with John by asking, “But how about him?”

In effect Jesus said to Peter that is none of your business, just follow me, that is, be more like me. That is His message to us today. Don’t despair because of those you esteem better than yourself, and don’t look down on those you think yourself to be better than — just follow me. That is Jesus’ desire for us. We are to aspire to be more like Him in our thoughts and actions. If you look up to Jesus you will never look down on anyone.

Comparing yourself to others leads to jealousy, envy, pride or depression. We ensnare ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. It becomes so habitual we don’t even realize we are doing it. In an age of polarity and diversity there is even a greater tendency to be detracted by comparisons.

Don’t be like the Pharisee in Luke 18 who stood praying, comparing himself to others. He was having a manic panic in an ego orbit. 

Hebrews 12: 1, 2 [NIV] says, “ …let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Our race will define us according to God’s will. The race marked out for you, not that of someone else.  If you have ever noticed a competitive race, each runner runs in his own lane and never looks to see how other competitors are doing. They keep their eyes on the goal. We should not look around at others, and compare ourselves, just accept Jesus’ charge to Peter to follow me. It is time to play the third game, “I am.” Who am I in my pursuit of holiness and how am I developing as I seek to be more like Jesus. How obedient am I to His command to “Follow me?”