The best advice I received at my bridal shower many years ago came from one of the pastors’ wives. She told me “Never ever compare yourself to other women.”
And we measure ourselves against other women to see if we meet “the standard.”
It’s not always directly related to us, but also our homes, families, possessions, and jobs. Are our children as smart or athletic enough? Is our husband high enough on the corporate ladder, or even the spiritual ladder? Should we be pursuing a better job, like the business women who recently became a CEO of a large firm? Or should we be a stay-at-home mom like the other ladies at church? Should we purchase expensive furniture and décor for our run-down trailer or stay within our means and stick with Wal-Mart?
If we insist on comparing, only two outcomes are possible.
First, we decide the other woman ranks higher than we do, which leads to discontentment and self-pity. But our worth is in Christ – no other standard is accurate. We were fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) So if someone else has what appears to be a better body, husband, house, job, remember, in God’s eyes no one is better or worse than another. We must be content with the things that we have. (Hebrews 13:5). Envy is ugly; it distorts our God-given beauty. We’re not supposed to covet, remember? (Exodus 20)
Secondly, we decide the other woman ranks lower than we do, which leads to an inflated sense of self. In a word, PRIDE. For the moment, we feel good about ourselves – until another person comes along who has something we don’t have. Yet the Bible warns that we’re not to think of ourselves too highly, but to use sober judgment according to our faith. (Romans 12:3) We’re also told several times in scripture to put others first and to humble ourselves.
Galatians 6:4&5 says “Each own should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.”