TO BE WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING

“…But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

 

This topic is on comparison. without understanding, comparison comes in to destroy your relationships. It leaves you confused, lonely and ultimately frustrated. Trust me, I know. Comparison, at its best, is destructive and at its worst…fatal. One day, as I sifted through my bible, I landed on the verse above. It struck me with a puzzling simplicity. I knew it meant more than I could understand. If comparison was no longer going to rein my thoughts, understanding played a big role. My struggle with comparison, inevitably always resulted in resentment, anger, depression, and the monster – jealousy. I grew up with four sisters, all of them gorgeous. I would compare myself so harshly to them. Degrading myself and them. I didn’t understand why I was less beautiful than they. Of course, that was not truth but comparison told me it was. Comparison, in a short cut, is self absorption. It puts focus on YOU. Becoming so focused on self, naturally I grew more selfish. It reflected on my choices, how I treated my siblings and most crucial, how I loved people. It pains me to know I missed out on loving them, over being consumed with myself. If you do not accept yourself, you will not accept others as they are. As they are. Yes, as you are and as they are. You will criticize others with the same criticism used on yourself. You will search for defects in them and even hope to be better than them in some way. It brings heaviness to my heart knowing these things overtook me. I find myself falling into same old patterns only to realize, “wait…this isn’t the way I think anymore. I don’t have to be that old person. And there is nothing wrong with me.”  Surrendering any hints of comparison and taking thoughts captive. Being alert of subtle ways it crept into thought patterns. Most importantly, being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and loving God’s word, accepting it as truth over everything.

Comparison doesn’t leave room for loving others. Why would it need to, it won’t even allow you to love yourself.

It pains me to think I was once staring into the mirror crying angrily at myself and God, asking why I was made this way. Why couldn’t I be beautiful like them? I lacked so much and it wasn’t fair. I did have a time of skin breakouts and awkward transitions but heck, haven’t we all? You may know me and be shaking your head at these words. You may even be feeling angry reading this thinking, she has no reason to have ever felt that way. You may be thinking how you have more reasons to feel the way I did. It truly is a heart issue and at that, a poor identity fed by many lies. I believe it is one that will not be resolved without a redeemer. We are all orphaned without a Father. The Father, He who is able to show us true identity and self worth. It’s humbling to think of the hateful thoughts I’ve had towards God’s perfect design. Bill Johnson said in his book, “GOD IS GOOD”,.. “I can’t afford to have a thought about myself that God doesn’t have about me.” If God is not thinking it about me, why am I wasting the energy? I do not want to be without understanding. I do not want to be without the understanding that God loves me. He loves me intentionally. He has made me fearfully and wonderfully ( Psalms 139:14).

Understanding brings security, reveals meaning and paves the way to love first.

I like comparing (no pun intended) comparison with a parasite. A person with a parasite may not know they have one, yet even if they do, may not mind the occasional bloat, indigestion, brain fog or fatigue. Common symptoms that a person can continue to ignore and live with despite the discomfort. Comparing is equally, if not more damaging than that of a parasite. interestingly, without a host a parasite cannot survive. Without a host it will never grow or multiply. This is why a parasite is not likely to ever kill you. It knows it will never survive if you are dead. Reminds me of what Paul says in Romans 6:11, “So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” Also, Galatians 2:20, ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” The new life. The new self. Alive in Christ, where harmful comparison no longer survives. Being as a dead man to your self-centered nature and living the way Jesus did. If we live by the truth (which is found in Jesus) we will be quick to recognize invasive parasites like comparison. Quickly turning away from the chanting noises it desperately repeats until it has completely faded into silence.

 

As long as it is welcomed, it will stay. It will stay in disguise, quietly dwelling, ready to be aroused within a self-centered conscious. It, like an ugly worm, eats away at everything it touches. And much like the discomfort of a parasite, it creates frustration and irritability.

 

You will simply never be comfortable with yourself or others if you constantly see through a lens of comparison. With that being said, comparison still lurks around waiting for an opportunity to steal from me and eventually destroy me. Do I still find myself comparing? yes. I now recognize it for what it is and what it can do and has done. Thankfully the relationships damaged by comparison can be rebuilt with intensified joy. In a battle of comparison, I see my need to know truth, renew my mind (taking thoughts captive) and simply saying “No.”  The last thing I want to share with you is a picture God showed me about how far comparison had taken me. In the picture, I was seeing myself in multiple mirrors. Mirrors that were lined up next to each other. There I was looking at my image. Multiple images of myself. I had a knife in my hand and as I stood there looking, an intense anger arose within me and I began attacking the reflections in the mirror. Stabbing at them angrily and repeatedly. I felt frustrated at my own image. The vision of this was extremely ponderous and even more so, the emotionally driven anger led by pain. This hit something deep within and was hard to accept. Yet, it was true. I, precious in God’s sight, was destroying  myself through self hatred ruled by comparison. It was painful. I have cried to the Lord that He would forgive me for the awful things I said about myself and not valuing His perfect design in me. It hurt Him and dishonored Him to treat myself with such hate. I realize just how selfish it was as the vision brought a Holy fear of God with it. I have to allow God’s perfect love to come secure the brokenness, settle the striving and bring understanding. Next time you find yourself  negatively comparing, ask, “what am I not understanding.” Like in the verse used above, when we compare we are without understanding and according to Proverbs 4:7, understanding is worth more than you have.

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”  Proverbs 4:7

 

 

 

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