Thomasville Times Enterprise

September 19, 2013

It’s unwise to compare yourself to others

Tara Wentworth
CNHI

— I would like to try something radical, something so outrageous, that perhaps I would be labeled a fanatic or even worse, a heretic.

 I've been reading some stories of believers who are so radical, they put me to shame. They are paying the price to love the most unlikely, the most unlovable, the most “undeserving” (in my eyes) people into a place of wholeness. Up until recently, I thought I was a pretty “loving” person — and compared to some (church people are who I am talking about now), I probably am. But, the Scriptures state that it is unwise for me to compare myself to others (as far as performance goes). Each one of us will stand before Jesus at the end of this age and will be rewarded according to what we have done with our lives (not what our neighbor did, not compared to what another believer did, but only according to how I lived my own personal life).

What I am finally realizing though, is that I cannot do this kind of radical loving unless I am willing to “die” to myself (my desires, my preferences, my perceptions) and learn how to abide in a close, intimate relationship with Jesus, allowing His nature and character to flow through me, out to those who He died for and who He loves with an unsurpassable love. His love for me and for every single person on this earth is really the only thing that matters, in the light of eternity.

I tend to look at people and judge (analyze) them, drawing my own conclusions based on what I see and hear.  I think most all of us who have been aware of some of the radical fringe groups of “Christians” who have no tolerance for anything that is contrary to their doctrine and way of thinking (like the church out west that demonstrates at funeral services for men who have lost their lives protecting our country).

I am not sure that we are supposed to “judge” anyone. I think that is God's job description, and He can do it righteously because He can see every aspect of a person's heart and we certainly cannot. I am wondering, if we could just love people out of their sinful conditions rather than “preach” at them. That might mean we have to keep our opinions to ourselves. I imagine a majority of people who are bound by sinful habits and lifestyles are aware that they have issues. I think they are also aware that they have no one to turn for help, so they try “self help” techniques or become more bound, which results in a hopelessness that there is really any way out of their situation.

What if they saw a group of people who followed the biblical command, to “love one another with a pure heart, fervently”?  What if “they will know that we are Christians by our love, one for another?” What if that love was so tangible that they saw people living self-sacrificing lives for others, for no other reason than they really wanted to!?

God's love for me was demonstrated “while I was yet a sinner.” I responded to His love because He made it irresistible. His love for me is not based upon anything other than His desire to share this amazing love with His creation.

I cannot earn it. I do not deserve it but. Nevertheless, He has made it available to me and anyone else who will respond to Him. Could we just be “carriers” of this amazing love to those who have yet to see a true demonstration of His nature in the lives of those who are His?  How would that look in today's world?  How would that look in your little part of this world?