rebelling against low expectations

When is it okay to compare yourself to others?

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]

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  • In a job interview! πŸ˜†πŸ˜† But no, seriously, I would say it’s ok to compare ourselves to others to make them look better or as a sort of compliment, but other than that, I don’t think we should make it a practice of comparing ourselves to others. That’s like measuring something with a faulty ruler. We need to compare ourselves to God’s standards.

  • Comparing yourself to others is not wrong, in fact, many times, it’s helpful. Comparing yourself to others is only wrong if it builds pride in your heart or you use that comparison to put others down, mentally or vocally.

    However, many times comparing yourself to other people can help us. For example, I go to taekwondo tournaments constantly so that I not only learn, but so I can compare myself to other competitors, learning my weakness and things that they can do that I should work on. We can do that in other things too besides sports.

    When I compare my faith with certain other believers faith, or Scriptural heroes’ faith, it shows me how much I still have to learn and grow. It helps to specifically identify the areas I’m weak in and need to grow in.

    Comparing yourself to other people is not always wrong, in fact, I would highly recommend that we do it sometimes! As long as we don’t use it as a means to build myself up and tear others down, it can be a very helpful tool to helping to me develop new skills or motivation, either in sports or in a relationship with Christ.

  • It’s not a sin in and of itself to compare yourself to others, but we should focus on comparing ourselves with Jesus and His perfect example.

    #shortanswer =)

    • I don’t know if I’d use the word COMPARE, but rather the word BECOME more like Him. That’s just me.

      • But in comparing we see that we might not add up to who he is, so then we naturally start wanting to better ourselves and act more like Jesus. So I guess you are both right! πŸ™‚

        • Agreed!! I see what you’re saying. I was just thinking about what the word compare really means. I guess it’s still a relevant word.

  • I think it is good to compare yourself with others if it is in a productive way. For instance seeing how you can learn from someone else. But I think it is not good to think someone else inferior to yourself or to feel discouraged about how much better someone else is to you.

  • I think that @joshuarcarpenter:disqus just summed up what I was going to say…
    I have another question: Who submitted this DQ?

  • In the words of Andy Stanley, “There’s no win in comparison.” We should never compare ourselves to others, but rather accept the way God made us and be who He created us to be.

  • This is a good question. I think that comparing yourself to others can be good, and it can be bad. I think that it would be ok to compare yourself with others in a productive way. It would not be good if you get discouraged, and think that someone else is better than you. I also want to say that it is a good way to compare your self to other Christians, and you should also try to act like them. I know that my reasons are just like @joshuarcarpenter:disqus, but I just wanted to say that I agree with what he said.

  • I don’t think you should ever compare yourself to someone. We have all been made in our own special way, we all have our own talents, our own flaws, our own good traits, and our own bad traits. Sure, there might be qualities in someone that you might want to try to better yourself in but just know you will never be like them. We shouldn’t live trying to add up to our own expectations, God has created you in the way he needed you to be created. πŸ™‚

  • I think, in a way, it’s healthy to compare yourself to others. I look at my friends and family all the time, and I admire them for their God-given talents and skills. I take different parts of said talents and skills, and use them as role models for my own life. For example, I hear one of my friends sing, and I use her voice as a goal for my own vocal growth. I hear my friend Jo speak, and I pray that I’ll be able to inspire others with my words as much as he does. In fact, I probably would have been a lukewarm Christian for the rest of my life if I hadn’t compared myself to my friends last year and realized that I wasn’t totally on fire for God. And like others are saying, while comparing yourself to other people can be good, since God put them here to help us grow as Christians, our one comparison for every person and situation should be the life of Jesus Christ. πŸ™‚

  • Thinking as i type, so, stay with me here πŸ™‚

    Honestly, I don’t think it’s helpful to COMPARE yourself to another person. When you see something in someones life that you admire, comparing yourself with the person will usually only leave you feeling empty. But, admiring that quality, and striving for it isn’t wrong! Looking at the skills of others, and asking God if it is His will for you to have them too IS healthy. But you have to be content with “no” as an answer. I think that that is slightly different then comparing.

    Also, i think that there is a way to compare yourself to someone without it being a sin, but it so easily distracts us from the One we should be running to and striving to become like. Jesus.

    But, i want to know what the rest of y’all think!

    • Comparing yourself to someone else can often one of the best ways to realize, “Hey, Jim has a great attitude. I really struggle with that. Maybe I should work on that more!” The “comparing yourself” step is, in my opinion, like recognizing that “Hey, this person does x better than me. I should work on x.” For example, Trent Blake has a better Yoda impersonation than me, I should really work on that. Comparison is the first stage, when I realize that my Yoda impersonation is not as good as Trent’s. It’s not necessarily wrong to compare; it’s only wrong if I use that comparison to build up my own pride or tear someone else down.

      Now, a healthy use of comparison with others would be that I now use that knowledge to work on a better Yoda impersonation (silly example, but think of it in other areas too.

      Does that make any sense? I agree with you that one of the most common problems with comparison with other people is that we begin trying to imitate people we admire (even people with good character qualities) instead of Jesus. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Comparing yourself to another person in a religious sense isnt okay. I’ve fallen prey to the lie that I am better than most people in the world because I am a Christian. This is so false. God doesn’t love me any more than he loves a gang member.
    It’s easy to drive down the street and look at the girls my age that are parading in short shorts, and think that I’ve got things all figured out. They are blind and yes, I’ve been rescued from that. But just because I’m a Christian doesnt mean that God loves me more. I have been rescued by Jesus’ blood, not by anything I’ve done. So if I’m to boast, may it only be in the Lord.
    I DO think it’s okay to compare what you have with others. Not in a boasting way, but in a humble and eye-opening way. Going on a mission trip to a third-world country should open your eyes to all that you have, and you should compare your life with the life that people on the streets are living. God can use this to transform your way of thinking, make you more grateful, and do something to help these less fortunate people. For example, I did a science project in fourth grade about filthy water. God used this experience to transform the way I see water. He has led me to hold fundraisers for drilling water wells and sponsor organizations that are dedicated to providing clean water to impoverished areas.
    I hope this makes sense… I was just thinking as I typed. (Like @a_haylie:disqus said)

    • I agree with what you said about it being a good thing, in some instances, to compare yourself with others; but in the same way as you may think more highly of yourself, thus tearing others down (even if only mentally) when you compare yourself to others you may be in an equal amount of danger of tearing yourself down. I mean, I find it easy to look around and think, that person has it all. Smart, popular, good looking and Godly. How incredible is that? I’ll never be “all that”. Then you find yourself having a self inflicted pity party which is not only a completely worthless waste of time, but it can prevent you from being the witness you need to be. You have to have just the right balance. Compare yourself to the Godly role models in your life and let their testimonies encourage you to strive to spend more time and effort in your walk with the Lord and strengthen your witness. Compare only for the sake of your personal improvement, whether that improvement be mental or spiritual.

  • That’s a tough Question. I definately agree that comparing yourself as someone better then Somebody else is not Ok. Jesus had some pretty strong words for those who do that. However, when you are comparing yourself to someone better then you (Like countless others on the thread have said already) It is a chance to see what you could be doing better.

    • Hi Jacob! Yes, I agree that there are instances in Scripture where Jesus condemned comparing oneself as better than another, like when he rebuked the Pharisee who thanked God because he wasn’t as sinful as the tax collector (Luke 18:1-14).

  • I think comparison done constructively is a good thing, but the trouble for me is when I become envious of someone else’s strengths, or beat myself up (figuratively), or idolize them, or even tear them down in my mind in order to bring them down to my level. When I catch myself in those thought patterns, I need to repent and keep an eye on my comparison-making. Does anyone have any thoughts on how avoid destructive comparisons and cultivate good ones?

    • My first thought was ‘cognitive therapy’ (can you tell I like psychology?). πŸ˜› Basically that’s just deliberately replacing negative thoughts with positive, realistic ones. Anyway, that’s kinda of the top of my head, probably not a huge amount of help, being quite vague. I might have a think and give a more detailed answer later. (Alternatively, I may well totally forget about it… :P).

        • Well, in this case it would be something like replacing ‘Oh, she’s so wonderful, I suck, I’ll never be as good as that’ etc with ‘Actually, God made me awesome, and loves me no matter what! And you know what, that person has other flaws too – there’s no such thing as a perfect human. I shouldn’t compare myself to them like this – God gave them certain strengths, and he gave me others.’ Essentially, bad comparison is unrealistic – it does not take into account all of reality, or all truths about this situation. We need to, with God’s help, replace those unrealistic thoughts with ones that rest on His truth and are true to reality. Does that make sense?

          P.S. Hopefully I’ve made it clear enough above, but I do NOT applaud ‘positive (or ‘realistic’) thinking’ as the cure-all for comparison, or anything else for that matter. We can’t fix this by ourselves. We need God’s grace and strength.

  • We should never compare ourselves amongst ourselves. However, we can examine another persons life, and discern what is good and bad in their life, possibly, incorporating the good parts into your own life style.

    So: comparing = bad.
    Examining and discerning another persons life = fine.
    Am I making sense to anyone?

    PS: I have been on a trip, so that is why I haven’t been posting. πŸ˜‰

      • Motive is very important. Again, I think, what your saying would be examining and then comparing. (He looks bad, so that justifies my evil.) We are still comparing.

      • Some people are saying the same thing as me. Some of it has to do with semantics. Comparing in the sense that people are better or worse because of their actions or thoughts would be, in my opinion, wrong. Finding positive aspects of another person and applying it to your life, I think, is fine.

        Other people also pointed out that our ultimate example is Jesus.

  • Haven’t looked through all the comments, so not sure how many people have said what I’m about to say (I know @prayerwrrior:disqus came pretty close).
    Comparing is only OK when seeking inspiration. For example, I look at my friend who prays way more than I do. I DON’T think “Oh, I’m such a bad Christian, I pray way less, she’s better than I am…” etc etc. That’s bad comparison. What I DO think is “Wow, that’s such a great example! I want to pray more, like X does.” Comparison is only OK if it leads to inspiration, challenge and encouragement. Not negative thoughts + feelings. Not low self-esteem. Oh, and don’t idolise the other person. They’re still flawed.
    Actually, speaking of self-esteem, I think another thing to keep in mind with comparison is this: Even when we are engaging in healthy comparison (as defined above), we need to make sure we are still seeing ourselves as God sees us. No matter how much or how little we pray, or how much we want to be like so-and-so who does such-and-such that we know we should do, God still loves us. In Him, we are everything we were created to be. Our striving to be better followers of Christ will not make us MORE His children.
    And also, as others have said: while we can compare and make ourselves feel bad, we can also compare to make ourselves feel better. That’s not good either.

    • Your post is clear, to me. You have a different way of saying what I was trying to say below. I like it, and I agree. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks bro. πŸ™‚ Yes, I think most of us are saying pretty much the same thing in different ways. Which is cool, cause different people will get more out of some comments, others out of others. And all our slightly different explanations and slants on the topic help get across both the central answer that most of us agree on, and also a stack of helpful peripheral details. Huzzah for the awesomeness of these DQs!!

        • I really like the DQs. I just wish I could meet everyone here in person. Most everyone here seems like they would be fun to talk to. πŸ™‚

          Oh, and if anyone is ever bored, they can pray for me. I can always use it. πŸ˜‰

  • Maybe I have seen too much comparison in my lifetime to see the benefit of it. We are told in scripture to “examine ourselves” not others. Comparison with others has a huge potential of creating jealousy and pride and elevation of man. Compare yourself in light of scripture. It will always keep you challenged but will also give you assurance that you are a child of God loved by Him and valuable to Him.

    • Yes, I definitely agree that comparison can create jealousy and pride. I’ve been there and honestly still struggle with it. Whoever sees this, please include me in your prayers. πŸ™‚ God bless!

      • Pao. God bless you for your honesty. I will pray for you. The best thing any of us can do is to devour the Word of God. It is so healing and gives us such confidence in God’s care for us. I have started reading the Bible from beginning to end with no commentaries and just letting the Holy Spirit teach me. It has so changed my life.

        “Taste and see that The Lord is good”. Psalm 34:8

    • You’re right – wherever we go we always find people trying to be better than others or wanting to be like others so much they forget about the bad things in their lives. The best person to compare ourselves to is ALWAYS Jesus πŸ˜‰

  • I don’t think comparison is good (for the most part). We can learn from others, look to them as our role model, etc… but I think that comparison (especially worldly comparison) can produce jealousy (James 3:16), not being content (Phillipians 4:11) and even covetousness (Exodus 20:17)! For example (bad comparison): Looking at how many friends people have, skills/talents/gifts they have that you don’t, looking at their “perfect” side and your “bad side”, etc. This can be dangerous because you can put yourself down, downplay the gifts God has given you, or even produce bad fruit (as cited above with Scripture). When you put yourself down you are putting God down because we are made in His image and our whole purpose is to bring glory and honor to Him! He made you just the way He made you for a purpose and although the world may have different standards on what makes a person “cool”, or how to dress, act, etc. just know that God is the only one you need to please (1 Samuel 16:7)! And now for an example of good comparison: looking at the good fruit others produce and trying to produce it in your own life, being attentive and observant, trying to look at small hard things that you see others do and appreciating them for it, taking inspiration from someone’s story, looking toward a person as a role model, etc. I have two real life examples for this: 1. The pastor of our church truly is living a life of faith, he and his wife moved from one place to where we now live because they felt the Lord calling them there. They left their dream house and good jobs and now are fixing up a home and trying to find jobs. I look at their lives and hope that I can live a life of faith like them. That is good comparison. 2. When my mom and I were at a restaurant once there was a big group of teenage boys at a table near us. They were laughing, talking and having a good time. When they got up to leave 11 of 12 boys just walked outside still laughing and jesting. 1 of 12 boys stayed behind and quickly straightened chairs, cleared the plates, etc. My mom and I observed his actions and had a conversation about being considerate. So I think wanting to produce good fruit and observing others good fruit is healthy comparison because it strengthens our relationship with Christ. Lastly (but not leastly), our main goal should be to learn from Christ (Matthew 11:29) and strive to be more like Him!

    Sorry that was so long!

    Blessings!
    -Priscilla

  • You’d think that pride and low self esteem were opposites, but it’s fascinating how comparing ourselves to others can lead to both. You can either look at someone else’s weaknesses and think that you’re better than them or you can see their strengths and think that you’re worse than them. I guess the key is to remember that we’re not saved by our own works but by the Work of Jesus Who loves us all equally. When we sin, whether it is a “little white lie” or murder, we are automatically a sinner. We are all sinners and our sin is no different than so-and-so’s. In other words their is no purpose in comparing ourselves to others unless they are inspiring us.

    • I like the points that you’re making and in many was I suppose that you are right. But don’t you think that by humbly comparing ourselves to others
      in an effort to learn from their mistakes and accomplishments can be quite positive and NOT promote both pride and low self esteem?

      • I sort of take back what I was saying about there being absolutely NO purpose in comparing ourselves to others. I never really thought of it in the sense that you can learn from other people’s mistakes and accomplishments. In that case, I believe that comparing yourselves to others can be a good thing. In my comment I said that it CAN turn into pride and low self esteem, but only if you let it. Thank you for your insight!

        • No problem πŸ™‚ , and I definitely do agree with you that it has potential to turn into a negative, so I guess we were both sort of right just in different ways. Thanks for getting back to me on that!

  • Look up “Just Be You and Live Original” on YouTube Sadie Robertson just posted an awesome video that sums up what we have been talking about!

  • Never compare yourself to others only compare yourself with one other person you compare with who you were yesterday with who you are today

  • Well, as Christians, we should be CHRISTLIKE! Is that comparing?

    I personally find myself comparing my “walk with CHRIST” with those from the Bible or other Faith Chronicles like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Don’t get me wrong… it’s not like a contest to see “who will be the greatest in GOD’s kingdom” or anything like that… but rather I find myself praying for more faith, wisdom, strength and other character qualities displayed by Christ and His followers! It’s more of a self-evaluation test for me…

    • I’ve never read those books, but I think I agree with what you’re saying. Choosing strong steadfast Christians as rolemodles has helped me to improve myself. I look at the things that I admire about them and try to follow their example; their kind of like teachers in my mind. Of course no one is perfect, but I’m sure everyone has met one of those Christians who seem to just glow with GOD’s love, those kind of Christians who you can’t help admiring and wanting to be like. So I’d say yes compare your self to them but as you said not in a contest-like way but as a self-evaluation and self-modification test.

  • Well its wrong but we all do it! Either that persons friends or the clothes they wear. We are sinners and we are jealous. You just have to think. What do I have that they don’t? How does that make me better? And does God compare myself with them? Just think on those and you wont even care about what others have.

  • I think that there is only one place that you can compare yourself to other people. That is when you compare yourself to sinners, and even then you must be careful to do it in a way that is humble, saying that you were once a sinner and then you compare yourself to other sinners.

  • I compare my self to t my youth paster or other older christians and I see ho they are walking with God or how they act so I can be a better christian and make good habits and that would be ok unless you are like being like the pharisees and worrying to much about rules and thinking oh no I didn’t do this or that and then thats when you put rules and trying to be perfect before God because no one is perfect.

  • In my Tae Kwon Do classes I like to compare my actions and level of focus and dedication to someone of a higher level to me. Like, I’m a red belt now which is #9 out of 11 belts (black being best and #11) so I compare my skill and effort level to a black belt or second degree black belt. The harder I work the better I become even though I’m below that level visually. I do the same thing with my age. When I was 12 I acted like I was 14. I’ve always been told I was mature for my age and it’s a blessing and a curse but I think it’s more beneficial when you’re goals are that of the Rebelution. A certain degree of comparison is good for you. If you compare you to yourself where you were a few years ago that’s motivating (or hopefully is) and maybe if that doesn’t motivate you then comparing yourself to who you want to be a few years from now will motivate you. Comparison can be bad but it can also be good. It’s like sugar on a diet, a little bit is fine.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsβ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More β†’