“My neighbor is better off than me”

the thief of joy is comparisonIt’s funny how you can be excited about the new car that you just bought…until you look at your neighbor’s driveway and see that his is better.

It’s funny how you can be grateful for the job that you have…until you talk to your neighbor about his job and see that his pay is better.

It’s funny how you can feel blessed with the relationship you have with your husband or wife… until you log onto facebook and based on what your neighbor posts assume that theirs is so much better.

It’s funny how happy you can be about using the gifts and talents God has given you to serve others…until you look at your neighbors and they seem to be using theirs better.

It’s funny how you can be so satisfied with your life… until you start thinking that your neighbor is living it better.

I don’t know what it is about us humans but from the moment we are born we want the best for ourselves.

As toddlers we fight for the best toys.

As kids we argue about who gets the best seat in the car.

As teenagers we complain to our parents about what “so and so” always has that we need.

As adults we are always eying our next door neighbor to see if his car, his house, his career, and his life is better.

And the more we compare our lives to others the more dissatisfied we become with our own.

Instead of appreciating our blessings we start being jealous of our neighbor’s blessings.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Not only does comparison steal our joy but often times it develops resentment within us toward our neighbors, our family members, and our friends.

And sometimes we even begin resenting God.

Instead of thanking Him for what we have, we start complaining about what we don’t have.

We start asking Him about why our neighbor is better off than us.

And we stop being thankful for the many ways that He does meet our needs.

In Galatians Paul talks about how we need to be careful to test our own actions and carry our own load without comparing ourselves to others (Galatians 6:1-6).

In Ecclesiastes Solomon talks about how working hard just to be better than your neighbor is meaningless and just chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

In Exodus it talks about how we should not covet anything of our neighbors, whether it’s their possessions, their relationships, or any other thing that catches our eye (Exodus 20:17).

Why?

Because envy and jealousy literally can take the life out of us. According to Proverbs 14:30 it makes the bones rot.

Not a pretty picture, is it?

But isn’t that the truth?

When we are too busy looking at what our neighbor has we have no time to be joyful with what we have.

Our mind is consumed with getting the bigger, better thing.

And we are restless until we finally find whatever it is that we think will make us happy.

The bigger house. The nicer car. The fancier clothes. The better job titles.

But the truth is… your neighbor will always have it better in some way or another.

Even if you are better off than him today, you might not be tomorrow.

And the comparison game will never end.

Today… if you spend too much time caring about what others have that you don’t, get off that merry-go-round because it won’t lead you anywhere.

Stop looking at your neighbor and start looking at yourself.

Be too busy counting your own blessings to count your neighbor’s.

Be too busy being thankful for how God is providing for your needs to be resentful of how God is providing for your neighbor’s.

Be too busy loving the life that you have been given that you have no time to be jealous of someone else’s.

And if you just can’t help but compare, then why don’t you compare your life to someone who has less than you?

To the homeless man holding a sign on the street?

To the orphan child in Africa who doesn’t have a piece of bread to eat?

Maybe it’ll help put a few things in perspective for you.

Today… don’t be bitter about your life and your don’t have’s.

Be grateful about what you do have.

Don’t hurt God with constantly needing what your neighbor has when He’s given you just enough.

Be thankful that He’s given you exactly what you need and don’t ask for more.

Don’t waste your time looking at your neighbor’s yard anymore.

There’s nothing there that you are missing out on.

Count your blessings today. You just might realize that you have more than you think!  -Anna… 

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” – Ephesians 5:20

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20 thoughts on ““My neighbor is better off than me”

    • Thanks Bill. I wish volunteering was mandatory for everyone. The more we spend helping others the less time we have to worry about those things that don’t matter in life (while making a difference in people’s lives).

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  1. Good perspective to take. Especially in the grossly over indulged and prideful US of A where some folks seem to treat those who are poor and on welfare as diseased. Folks in the religious churches are often no different in their outlook. Being the self-made, self reliant and invincible American seems to be the main pursuit. I am the centre of my universe. God spoke to me alot about attitudes when I was in the USA. I found alot of it obnoxious and trivial but much of the west is the same. I think this blog is ok because it tries to go deeper than many of the superficial attitudes I found there.

    The Apostle Paul said he had found the secret of happiness in all circumstances and it was in knowing Christ. Not just knowing of him or about him but knowing him intimately. The joy of just knowing Jesus and the depth of His love and sacrifice. It is experientially, when you go through these things in life that we learn to trust Christ and His provision to meet our needs and not our desires. Everyone’s chasing their desires. Most just trust their own ability to make a buck in this life and avoid truly hedging on Gods provision.

    “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned ( that means it did not come naturally by instinct – he had to go through it and prove it ) the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want “.

    Philippians 4:12

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    • Amen Martin!! You are one step ahead of me! Finding joy in Christ in any circumstance in life is next (on my very long list) of posts to write. 🙂

      The world keeps telling us that we need things to make us happy but when we have God we know that nothing in this world will bring us real joy apart from Him. That is clearly evident if you look at hollywood and all the celebrities who go from one temporary high and worldly indulgence to another, often times only to end up dead or at a rehab center at a young age. You can have it all by the worldly standards but unless you have Jesus you really don’t have much of anything because eventually it will all fade away.

      We are beyond blessed to know where we can find true joy so that we never have to waste time seeking it in the world! And once we know Jesus intimately we can, like Paul, be able to say that we are content with our life no matter what place or season we find ourselves in.

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      • True. I think the Lord is working out of us all our allegiances in this world so that our only allegiance is to Him and His KIngdom. Therefore He is dealing with things like nationalism and patriotism which are false idols. Having said what I have, there were also positives about the USA and the people and for me personally it was a transitional time. I have no doubt that God gives us grace to live wherever He calls us. This peace and rest in all circumstances is key through knowing Christ Himself. This is why a vicarious faith will not be enough when the tests of life come. The more we become consumed by Jesus and His Kingdom and His ways, the more we can view all things from the right perspective and allegiance. We become apart from the world. In it but not of it. Part of it in one sense but not truly part of it. Our true identity becomes ever more derived and centred and consolidated in another realm, another Master and an entirely different set of dynamics. Those of another Kingdom. It’s like what you said about celebrities. We are able to view these things from a different perspective. From a deeper perspective in light of eternity and what really matters. All of this flows from our personal love for Jesus and the fact that He first loved us and gave Himself for us. The depth of His sacrifice in redeeming us is foundational to our entire outlook on life. Let us know more of the depth of that sacrifice.

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        • Yes! The closer we are to God and the more we understand His deep love for us and the forgiveness, love, freedom, and hope that is found in His sacrifice on the cross can we live in light of eternity. It is when I stray from reading God’s Word and spending time alone with Him that I find myself consumed by materialistic and worldly things. But the nearer I draw to God and the more desire I have for Him above all else the easier it becomes to live with the right perspective and to focus on what really matters. It’s always my heart’s desire to be so consumed by God that everything else fades away into the background where it belongs. By meditating on His scriptures day and night like we are reminded to in Joshua and by constantly seeking Him in prayer and prioritizing my daily habits so that they are less about me and more about Him it is possible, although not always easy (with our fleshly nature).

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  2. Love this post, what a great reminder not to compare ourselves with anyone because we will never measure up anyway…nothing really matters other than living to make a difference.

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