The Slippery Slope of Comparison
A Psalm of Asaph
1Truly God is good to Israel, Even to such as are of a clean heart. 2But as for me, my feet were almost gone; My steps had well nigh slipped. 3For I was envious at the foolish, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Keeping up with the Joneses is a slippery slope for certain.
Looking at the success and blessing of others and comparing theirs with yours will take you down, just ask Asaph the God inspired author of Psalm 73. He tells us that he had almost lost his way, he had come very close to the edge of this great precipice and almost slipped over. Asaph confesses that he had become envious. Others had more wealth and better health, better jobs and more fun friends. Perhaps Asaph checked his social media feed and saw “friends” with nicer houses and happier homes. As he snooped on other’s stories, he surveyed perfect families on fun filled adventures or delicious meals around big tables and jealousy hijacked his thoughts.
Why is keeping up the Joneses such a slippery slope?
Why be cautious of committing this crime of coveting?
(Did you c what I did on that last line?)
1. You never see behind the scenes of those lives that you envy
Most people don’t portray themselves completely in public or on social media. The life you see is not reality! They snapped 43 imperfect selfies before the one they posted. Their spouses’ picture is filtered, the food may have looked better than it tasted and sometimes their houses have plumbing problems too! Someone wise once said, “the grass is greener on the other side because it is growing above a sewer.”
2. Envy can’t get along with gratitude.
Those two refuse to live together, one will have to leave. Keeping up with the Joneses is such a slippery slope because as you allow yourself to compare then you will cease being thankful. Perhaps theirs is better but that doesn’t mean that yours is bad.
3. Comparing is a losing game
Typically, those that are envious try to even things up by digging themselves a financial hole.
Keeping up with the Joneses will break your bank. How many people have maxed out their credit cards buying things they can’t afford to impress people they don’t like?
4. God is good
Notice Asaph’s comparisons brought him to playing a blame game with God. They acted foolish and yet the Lord allowed them more than him. They were less deserving, so he believed. In his eyes, God was not being godly, he was not treating him unfairly. Wow, that is a slippery slope. That reveals so many sins, doesn’t it? Pride to believe we are worthy of more, judging to access others as less deserving, ingratitude, blasphemy, these are a just a short list of lows to which comparing will carry the envious.
Asaph begins this Psalm with a wonderful truth, it was one that he forgot for a while but then comes back to at the end. We must keep that truth in focus at all times.
“Truly, God is good…” Psalm 73:1
The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we are all unworthy sinners in need of a savior. If we had gotten what we deserved, then Jesus would not have died, and we would not be saved. I have learned to look by faith to Calvary when I start to feel like the Lord has not treated me fairly. It is then that I begin to regain my gratitude that instead of getting what I deserve I have gotten grace.
Truly, God is good!