Thomas J. DeLong, a professor at Harvard Business School, has noted a disturbing trend among his students and colleagues—a “comparison obsession." He writes: “More so than ever before, . . . business executives, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are obsessed with comparing their own achievements against those of others. . . . This is bad for individuals and bad for companies. When you define success based on external rather than internal criteria, you diminish your satisfaction and commitment.”
Comparison obsession isn’t new. The Scriptures warn us of the dangers of comparing ourselves to others. When we do so, we become proud and look down on them (Luke 18:9–14). Or we become jealous and want to be like them or have what they have (James 4:1). We fail to focus on what God has given us to do. Jesus intimated that comparison obsession comes from believing that God is unfair and that He doesn’t have a right to be more generous to others than He is to us (Matt. 20:1–16).
By God’s grace we can learn to overcome comparison obsession by focusing on the life God has given to us. As we take moments to thank God for everyday blessings, we change our thinking and begin to believe deep down that God is good.
I need a better focus, Lord. Help me to keep my eyes off others and instead on You and Your good heart for all of us.
God expresses His goodness to His children in His own way.
Jesus taught the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt. 20:1–16) to show His disciples the generous heart of God. God is not unjust. He has no favorites and treats every Christian generously and equally (vv. 13–15). Paul later taught this same truth: “There is no favoritism with [God]” (Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25). This extends to believers and the way we view others (1 Tim. 5:21).