I remember reading John Ortberg’s The Me I Want to Be, several years ago. He wrote about comparison being the thief of joy, and a kind of spiritual self-destruction. (I’m paraphrasing, of course!) I remember my jaw dropping, as it often does when reading Ortberg. I had simply never thought of it that way before, but his words rung true.
And when a friend sent this my way today, I immediately thought of Ortberg and the lessons of that book:
The reality is, it’s easy to look at someone else’s life with envy. It’s easy to look at what they present to the world and think they’ve got it all together. It’s easy to take a part of the picture and think it is actually the whole picture. But the longer I’m an adult (and some days I question if I am one!), the more convinced I am that everyone struggles. Everyone has a mess you can’t see. Everyone is just trying to keep it together.
And therefore, meeting people with compassion is not just a good way to be – it’s the ONLY way to be. Jesus was serious about this. He met people with compassion, especially the people who were hurting.
The only people he didn’t have a tonne of patience and compassion for were those who made the hard lives even harder. Those who used their power and influence to inflict further injury on those who were already struggling. Those who felt they had the right to judge others, while escaping judgement themselves.
Jesus’ mission was on of compassion and self-sacrifice. As his followers, it is our job to do likewise. So let’s let comparison go, and in it’s place practice compassion. We might just help clean up some of the messes we can’t see, if we use this approach.
Until tomorrow, dear friends, meet everyone with compassion. Trust that they are struggling, and that in showing kindness, you will be honouring Jesus.