Friday, April 13, 2007
The Disease of Comparison
Those of us afflicted with the Disease of Comparison know the effects it has within. See, the soul is just like any other part of the body when it hurts; it demands relief. The headache begs an aspirin; the heart looks to contempt. When you feel like a nobody, you have two options available to relieve that pain. You can use contempt on yourself or you can use it on other people. Either is an attempt to try and feel better. It’s ironic that both are equally destructive. What does this have to do with anything? With all the change that is occurring in the Church As We Know It, naturally what comes with it is comparison. Take Emergent Guy for example. Let’s say he doesn’t fit in with MegaChurch Guy and what he is doing. Emergent Guy finds himself feeling marginalized and left out and doesn’t know where to turn. This is where contempt comes in. Emergent Guy has the option of pouring contempt on himself or upon MegaChurch Guy, the one with whom he compares himself. Since he doesn’t know what to do with the pain of feeling like an outsider, he may beat himself up for not being a better person, assuming he is to blame. He buys the line, “If God feels far off, guess who moved?” thinking he must be the problem. It’s easier to feel bad and guilty that to risk doing something legitimate about how he feels. His other option is to turn his contempt outward, toward MegaChurch Guy, making him the problem. He immediately feels better as he passes judgement on all the money and people MegaChurch guy has show up at his deal. He condemns their work, calling it shallow or soft on real issues. I’ve used both pain relievers in my day. I’ve been from one extreme to the other. I’ve felt contempt for my own work and I’ve had plenty of bad things to say about others. I wish I could take back the number of times I bad mouthed other collegiate ministries. I now see I did so because my soul was not healthy. Comparison is a sad disease. It stunts growth; it keeps one very small. It limits potential. I’m finding that its only effective tonic is joy. A happy heart is good medicine. Its only downside is that it is in short supply and often very hard to find. When my spirit is inebriated on joy, comparison seems a million miles away.