The Comparison Game | Day Nineteen
By: Megan Gover | To download this week's series, click here.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis
Friends are meant for more than just helping you devour a bowl of cookie dough, doubling as your air guitar band back-up singers, or co-conspiring as your partner in crime. Though the Lord created the role of a friend to sweetly support us through thick and thin, measuring ourselves against our BFF’s can create some pretty salty riffs.
When comparisons wedge themselves between our squad and ourselves, we easily experience deep-seated envy and resentment.
As we dive into today’s study, ask the Lord to uproot any comparisons reeking havoc on the joy the Lord desires for you to experience in your friendships!
Let’s get started! Name some ways you could compare friendships. How are you personally tempted to measure yourself to friends?
Whether you wish you had your friend’s complexion, natural ability, or relationship with her family, any of the comparison areas we’ve studied can become a focal point of how you compare your friends.
Let’s look at three of these comparison areas specifically.
For instance, in middle school, I compared my beauty and size to my group of friends. Every time we had a pool party or slumber party, I would compare my one-piece bathing suit to their cute two pieces and marvel at all the food they could eat! They could down a box of Oreos and a bag of chips without adding any numbers to the scale, but I simply sniffed a treat and could gain weight!
Though they never made me feel inferior for struggling with weight, comparing my body type to theirs made me feel lesser than and jealous.
How have you compared your beauty to a friend? How did it kill your joy in that moment?
What would be an example of comparing your beauty in a superior way to your friends? What joy would this kill in your own life? How would it kill your friend’s joy?
How would comparing your looks kill the joy of living out biblical beauty?
What is your reaction when a friend does well on a test and you bombed it? Or they made the team and you didn’t? Often times, we become lousy friends when we feel like we’ve lost; we tend to not celebrate with friends when we feel cheated by their success.
Read Romans 12:5. What two verbs does this verse address?
Why would someone rejoice in someone else’s mourning? Why would someone mourn in someone else’s rejoicing?
What is an example of when you confused these two verbs and rejoiced and mourned in other’s mourning and rejoicing?
When we feel slighted or envious, we are probably comparing ourselves inferiorly. Read Proverbs 14:30. What gives life? What rots us?
Envy is a grappling emotion—it can corrode, rot, and eat out joy. What is an example of envy being a by-product of comparing yourself to a friend’s talent?
What joy do we forgo when we feel like our friend’s have more talent?
Remember the Parable of the Talents? It is important for the sake of our joy to remember we are all given different types and amounts of talent. And we are called to use them as a way of worship regardless of what gifts we received!
However, we can also find ourselves on the other side of comparisons. If you are given major natural ability in an area, it’s tempting to puff up your ego because you feel better than others. Instead of gloating or lording your talent over friends who feel like their struggling to find their niche, we must begin to infuse confidence within our friends.
Name a time someone in your life felt like their talents were lesser than. What was your reaction? Did you help uplift them? Or did you fuel their pity party?
Read Proverbs 16:24. How do gracious words infuse joy and life into the soul?
How can your words begin to encourage your friend to keep utilizing their talent?
Ultimately, when we compare our talents to our best friends, we begin to compete with one another instead of compliment.
What are some practical ways you can rejoice with friends today? What are some practical ways you can mourn with mourning friends?
When friends tend to live in the spotlight at school or church, comparisons can make living in their shadow feel ten shades darker.
Have you inferiorly or superiorly compared your popularity status to a close friend? What emotion did you experience as a result?
What is the root of a desire to be popular?
Measuring our popularity status against friends can dangerously lead us away from the joy and command to love everyone like Christ has loved us by focusing on the amount of love other’s have for us.
Read Philippians 2:3-5.
How would you describe selfish ambition? Vain conceit?
How would you explain value to a third grader? How are we called to value others above our self?
What is an example of putting your interests above others?
If we lived out this verse instead of focusing on popularity, how would this passage change the way we pursue popularity?
Instead of vying for other’s attention, we have the joy of being a vessel for other’s to experience the Lord’s affections. Comparisons don’t only affect our personal joy, but the joy of those around us. End this time asking the Lord to help you celebrate friends instead of competing against them!