Below is a blog post from my friend Courtney, I struggle with this topic and really found her post helpful.
Thanking God for Grace in Others
It’s a vicious cycle. You see a woman who does something really well,
let’s say cooking, and you initially admire her and praise her for her
kitchen prowess. The admiration might turn into inquiring how she became
so proficient at making meals for her family. Then a little voice
begins speaking, “You can’t cook like that. Your dinners always turn out
bland and uncreative. You are lucky if you don’t burn dinner. Stop
trying, she is just better than you.” What was once admiration has now
turned into discouraging comparison, and now you are just straight-up
It’s hard, isn’t it? There is always someone who is more
creative, more organized, more physically fit, more kind, more whatever
than us. If we let ourselves, we can easily spiral out of control with
discontentment, jealousy, and discouragement over what we are not and
what we wish we could be. And as the proverbial saying goes, the grass
really is always greener on the other side. When we believe these lies
of comparison we will never truly be satisfied, primarily because we are
disobeying God’s word and allowing the sin of discontent to rule our
One of the things I’ve done in the past when I’ve seen a
character quality or evidence of grace I admire in someone is to thank
God for that grace and ask for the same measure of grace in my own life.
When I see a wife lovingly serve, respect, and submit to her husband,
I’ve prayed that God would give me that same gracious spirit. When I see
a marriage thrive in love and grace, I have asked God to be pleased to
work that same outcome in my own marriage. When I’m tempted to wallow in
self-pity when I see my life in comparison to hers, my mind is filled
with thoughts like “why can’t I be ____?” “I wish I was ____.” Questions
like this inevitably lead me to despair. I can’t make myself do
anything. I can’t change my personality. I can’t change my sinful
tendencies on my own. So instead of looking to the faithful giver of
grace to change, I’m ruled by my longing for something different. God is
the giver of all good things and the grace to change. Instead of
sinfully comparing myself to everyone else, I should be thanking God for
the gracious gifts he gives, and ask him for the same work in my own
life. The truth is, it’s really hard to be jealous of someone when you
are thanking God for them.
Peter faced this same tendency towards
comparison (John 21:18-22). Instead of allowing Peter the indulgence of
his sinful comparison to those around him, Jesus turned his statement
on its head and told Peter to follow him, essentially saying that
Peter’s inquiry about them didn’t matter. The same response is true for
us. After thanking God for the evidence of his work in the life of
another, we must then look to the giver of grace and follow him alone. A
gaze set directly on Christ will not afford us the opportunity to look
around and compare because we will be so captivated by the treasure that
he alone is for us.
What I need is a reoriented mindset.
Comparison and jealous are ruthless masters. They keep us believing that
we are never good enough and that someone else always does it better.
They probably do, but that’s not the point. The point is that it doesn’t
matter. Christ has called us to himself and only asks that we follow
him. “Don’t look at the people around you and despair over your life,”
he says. “Follow me and me alone.”
We are prone to compare and we
will probably fight this temptation until we see Jesus face to face.
But until that day, I resolve to fight my own sinful temptation to
compare and despair by thanking God for the gifts in the people around
me and following Christ alone.
You can follow Courtney at: http://cdtarter.blogspot.com/