At a time when David returned after slaying Goliath, and the soldiers of Israel after a victory over the Philistines, the women came out from all cities of Israel, singing and dancing and chanting a verse:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands” (1 Sam. 18:7)
It was just an occasion of joy and celebration of the victory, and not to disparage Saul. But the words went to Saul’s heart like an arrow and he was very angry. He thought to himself (or it was a soliloquy), “Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” (V. 8)
From that moment on, Saul kept his eye on David as a rival for the throne and his thoughts were always on how to finish him off directly or indirectly. The very next day after the comparison, Saul made his attempt on David’s life, without success. Saul’s fear of David took control of him and almost all his dealings were designed to destroy him.
Look at the serious consequences of such comparisons, even when they look harmless and are not intentional!
Sadly, many of us spend and waste a lot of time comparing ourselves to others and we end up feeling ‘less’ (inferior) or ‘better’ (superior). This could very well be a trap, whether we feel ‘less’ or ‘better’, because by this we get stuck in a negative loop. Such comparisons lead to jealousy, anxiety, judgment, criticism and many more.
We not only compare ourselves, but compare one with the other. This often happens in our families, when parents compare a child against another or when a child compares the parents against each other. How many of our children have been demoralized and lost their motivation to do anything worthwhile in their life? How many of our parents have been disheartened and discouraged and got stuck in the negative loop? All because of as a result of unwanted comparisons!
But we might say, a system of comparison is built in the society and it’s normal that we have comparisons in our daily life on different levels.
Its true that we may not be able to avoid comparisons altogether. But then the question arises on how we can transform our negative comparisons to an experience of growth and affirmation of the different persons that we are, with the different aptitudes, talents and gifting.
To achieve this we first need to have empathy and compassion for ourselves, remembering that we all have our space here. We also need to use comparisons as an opportunity to accept, appreciate and love ourselves and others.
May the Lord help our ICANJ family to be mindful of this truth and avoid all negative comparisons and transform comparisons, if any, for the benefit and affirmation ourselves and others!