Sunday, March 8, 2009

The "Comparison Culture"

Today one of the talks at church was about the dangers of comparing and competing with others... you know... frowning on others who "aren't as good as we are" or being filled with envy and jealousy towards those who are "better than us."

It's blatantly obvious that this illness plagues the media, we see it everywhere: in our music, T.V., online, magazines and advertising. It's everywhere! Can't we all just get along.

...But there is one place we tend to compete in that may be even more destructive than what we find in the media... it is in our own families and in our own churches. Yes, in the very places that should be the most reverenced and where love should abound the most is ironically the place where we often do the greatest amount of competing and comparing ... Why is that??

After church, I went home and settled in still thinking about the "comparison culture problem." "Why is that?" Why in our families and in our churches do we compare how someone gives a lesson better, speaks better, is more educated, sings better, keeps house better, has children that behave better, looks better, knows their scriptures better, prays better, serves better, smells better (my husband threw that in), you get the point.... we all do it... why is that?... especially in our churches where we know we need to love each other as the Savior did!

Images of people running a race came to my mind:
It's not a race against anyone... however it is a race against the clock to help, love, serve, come together and share the Gospel. But every once in a while I think we tend to think we are racing each other.

I imagine anywhere you get a high volume of people striving for the same goal there is a tenancy to think linearly….that we are in a race against each other….some “ahead of us” and some “lagging behind.”

Linearly we all start in the exact same spot at the exact same time with the exact same path. This is the problem with thinking linearly.... we all come to God at different times in our lives and in our own unique way. We have all face different challenges in our circumstances and in ourselves... we are not "cookie cutter" people

Since Christ is at the center of our lives, and the center of this Church… it only makes sense that the goal we are trying to achieve is centrically focused and not linear. Centrically, so as we strive towards the same “Goal” we grow closer, we pull together… no matter what direction we are coming from, how many times we fall, or how fast or slow we run.

A centrically focused goal allows us to be more unified.... we all start at different points, at different times and have very different paths that get us there, it is expected that our paths are different it is more beautiful this way... and as we press forward we come together and become unified in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I thought the closing hymn went extremely well with the message too. I've sung it before but this time it seemed new to me. #281 The words pressed so deeply on my soul, “Fill my mind with understanding; Tune my voice to echo thine. Touch my hand with gentle friendship: Warm my heart with love divine.”

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