"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Ugly Game

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We play the comparison game way too much.  Is it just ladies who do this?  I don't know.  But, it can be so harmful.  And, it is so random...like rolling dice.  Who can predict the winner?  

The ability to judge and compare is a significant gift from God.

God compares.  Scripture's stories and Truth are full of His judging, His statements of comparison.  He judges.  I believe this ability to see and compare is a beautiful piece of His image in us.

We use this God-like ability in our every day lives.  From when we are young, we learn to compare and judge the safety of one situation to another.  We make early judgments and decide from very early who we will "go-to", reaching out our hands...  "this one I know."  "This one I trust", a small toddler will make these judgments, won't he?  

The difference, of course, is that God Almighty always judges rightly.  His judgments are always couched in His love, His grace and His mercy.  He is holy, perfect and without sin. He sees clearly, righteously and He is always good.  I am not.

Isn't that crying baby, who won't come to me, making a wrong judgement about my being unsafe?

Now, I do believe that using God's Word allows us to make some pretty sure judgments.  Scripture does certainly name some things as clearly right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, godly and ungodly.    

But, that said, when I use this comparison with my sinful, inperfect, or twisted "lens" on---not the clear lens of Scripture--- well, then I have a problem, don't I ?!  

And, I do it all the time.  I don't think I am alone here.  I think we do it all the time.  

We make judgements.  We make comparisons.

And, then we play a game---the comparison game.  This is when we get into trouble.   Not only do we make a comparison--- but we then place a value on our comparison.  We call one thing right and one thing wrong.  One thing is better and one thing is worse.  There is a winner and a loser in our comparison game!

Sometimes I win.  And sometimes I lose.

He is smarter, I am not as smart.  He wins.  I lose.  She is prettier.  I am not as pretty.  She wins.  I lose.  She is fat.  I am not.  She loses. I win.  She is creative.  I am not as creative.  She wins.  I lose.  ...stupid, silly comparisons begin to plague our thinking about ourselves and our thinking about others.

He is better at this ...she is better at that...

Then we get into bigger, not so small--- deeply harmful, comparisons.  Relational comparisons--- seriously dangerous ground!  She has her quiet time at this time.  I don't.  She does this for God.  But, I do that.  He hears God in this way.  I don't.  She does.  I can do this.  She can't.  She can do this.  I can't.   I struggle with this.  She doesn't.  She struggles with this... I don't!  On and on it goes.  All the while we are making comparisons and judging our "place".  Winners and losers.   Do you ever play this game?  When does it ever stop?!

What a mess we have made of a sweet gift!

Instead of our God-created differences being something that we can see, judge rightly, and deeply value; it brings animosity, or insecurity.  Instead of unity, our comparisons bring disunity.   Instead of your strengths bringing hope and a compliment to my weakness... I feel badly or wrong.  Or, I feel better or self-righteous.

We just win or lose.  This game playing brings distance, a massive chasm, between you and me.

These judgments bring a block to trust, intimacy and vulnerability between him and her.   We see it in marriages.  We see it in sisters.  Brothers.  We see it in friendships and neighbors.

I have put you over there "in that category" and me over here "in this category".  You are better than me, so therefore you are not like me.  And, hence, I can not trust you or open up to you.  And, I certainly can't show you my weakness.   I feel far from you.  Judged by you.

It doesn't matter if I am winning or losing the game--- either way, pride or self-hatred, we are disconnected from each other.  With our pride or self-hatred we are not seeing ourselves as God sees us.

What freedom would come if we saw ourselves and others rightly--with our strengths and weakness in full view--- and valued God's creativity and His work in each of our lives.  He views us with grace.  Can I trust that He will, in me... and you...  ...make all things beautiful in His time.

Instead sometimes we are walking around like a nose detached from the face, bemoaning the fact that we are not an ear... or proud of the fact that we can smell better than him...  What a mess--- what an ugly game we play!

Wash us in Your Love Father!  Cover us with Your Grace and Mercy, Jesus.  Holy Spirit, bring wisdom and understanding.  Lead me into all Truth.   
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