Comparison Stopping

"Did ya ever get the feelin' you're being watched?" Bugs Bunny asks Gossamer, the shaggy red monster. "That the eyes of strange, eery things are upon ya?" At this, Gossamer turns to see, horror of horrors—"PEOPLE!" He then proceeds to run screaming from the imaginary audience, through the haunted castle, breaking down every wall from there to vanishing point.

I must confess I've felt this way many a time. Terrified of some broadcast opinion or perception from some faceless someone. At one level, what you sense from someone else is just your own fears and insecurities. But when you make your way out of the tangled forest of that wrong thinking into a fuller realization of just who it is God says you are (a "new creation" 2 Corinthians 5:17), these perceptions become a little bit more ambiguous and amorphous. And if they don't line up with what God thinks of you they're just as wrong. Let me put it to you plainly: You are not who someone thinks and projects that you are. Unless, of course, that someone is God, or someone else whose mind is "renewed" to His truth (see Romans 12:1-2).

Turn it around and look at it this way. Freedom from this emotional miasma is impossible if a person is not a Christian. Jesus died to recreate our spirit and to give us life more abundantly (see John 10:10). This "abundant life" is full of peace, joy, direction, and a genuine sense of centeredness. Now if you're experiencing this… liberty, as I will refer to it, then your interaction with others, Christian and non, should be as uplifting and encouraging as possible.

If you're on your way (as I and everyone else is) but maybe not experiencing God's liberty very often, if at all, then consider these maxims of interaction:

Not because of: Don't ever do anything (Anything) because of what you might sense someone thinks of you. Your worth comes from God alone and anyone's adulation or admiration isn't ultimately going to make you any better of a person.

Not in spite of: If you feel in any way insecure about some aspect of your character, your personality, your body, don't condemn anyone in thought or word who might be worse off in any of those departments than you. And especially if you've been blessed with confidence or attractiveness. Be humble. Be a servant (see Matthew 20:27).

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." (Philippians 2:3)

God is the one we're living unto. The One "with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). Any sin we commit is toward Him first (see Psalms 51:4). We need to learn how to relate to Him as a real person and not just a faceless entity that we'll meet on some "Other Side" for the first time.

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12)

I don't know if Gossamer ever overcame his irrational fear of what other people thought of him, but we can! With God's help, of course.


Call and Response (Ten Commandments Redux part 3)

A Creative License Suspension