~The wart on his broad forehead drew my eyes in spite of my need to look away.  A beautiful smile lingered just five inches lower, eclipsed by the small mar that drew me.  “Look away!” I ordered my eyes, lowering them, looking anywhere but at him, hurrying to get away from the sight I didn’t want to see but couldn’t look away from.

 ~*~

~The smell overwhelmed my senses, drawing me into a deep, dark cavern of odiferous horror.  His hand extended to me was too close to avoid the cloud surrounding him.  I shake his hand, quickly letting go and stepping back away from him.  “Welcome.” I say with a smile that hides my need to exit the orbit of his unwashed body.

~*~

~She danced down the isle, lifting her hands high in praise to her Lord.  Embarassment washed over me, for her, as I wondered if others noticed her extreme behavior.  I understood the need to praise, but this was over the top!  She must be wanting others to stare at her.  Why else would she behave in this fashion?  I would never. . . .

~*~

The above are three imaginary circumstances that could (and do) happen in the real world.  Each time, some perceived flaw comes to the attention of the senses.  It grows, sometimes to gigantic proportions, in our mind, sucking all our attention to it and it alone.  Causing us to miss everything else as we succomb to it’s lure, it’s seductive draw.

We don’t mean to focus on the black dot on the white paper, but we are human.  Our humanity, our sin nature if you will, draws us to this ogling of what we consider bizarre or beneath us.  Our nose curls with disdain as we struggle with our base nature and it’s need to put others into categories that make us look better.

Every time I look at someone’s black dot, some thing that mars them in my eyes, I am saying, “I am better than you.”

Every time I look in wonder at someone performing some act I would never perform, based on my culture, my beliefs or my upbringing, [not including such things as 1st degree murder….] I am saying, “I am better than you.”

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself saying negative things (in my head) about others.  I don’t speak them out loud, and I don’t want to think them.  They just pop up, and I have to fight them.  In my head is better than out loud, but the struggle still exists.

~*~

It was an epiphany for me when I realized that every time I had these thoughts, I was saying, “Im better than you.”  {Given – there are things that we should judge as wrong, although motives (the heart) are off limits to us to judge.  We are not talking about those things (for my literalists in the audience☺)}  I did not see myself as judgemental. I could, for a time, feel good about myself because I did not do/have/etc. whatever it was. {Ever catch this phrase(s) going through your head:  I’m so glad I don’t ….;  I’m so glad I didn’t ….; I’m so glad I have … instead of ….; etc.

We have delved into this topic before, but it bears repeating.  What makes us compare ourselves to others? The simple answer:  we do it so we can feel better about ourselves.  If we look where we should for comparison (God), we realize our ‘messiness’ and need of a Savior.  Whether we compare ourselves to others we find “less” in some way in order to feel better, or to others we feel as “more” in some way causing is to feel worse, it is wrong.

~*~

Looking down our nose

I’m not sure where that phrase originated, but it appropriately describes what we do when we judge others based on self.  One must be higher in order to look down.  I have seen people who, very literally, base their self worth on where they stand in comparison to those around them.  While a temporary feeling of superiority may occur, sooner or later, this person will realize he or she is not at the top of the scale.  What then?  Basing our self worth on others leads to a slippery slope of “I’m better/I’m worse” metamorphasis of how we feel.

~*~

Who I am in Him

When we compare ourselves to God, we realize we are at the bottom of the heap.  Our righteousness is as filthy rags.  Our holiness is non-existant.  Sounds bad, doesn’t it?  It is. But, it does get better.  This finding ourselves at the bottom of the heap forces us to look up for relief (salvation).  We ‘come to ourselves’ like the prodigal son and return home to the Father, begging for restoration.  [See Luke 15:11-32]   Then, we surrender ourselves to the Father, and accept Jesus blood as payment for our sinful, messy lives.  We hand Him our sin and unrighteousness (which He places under the blood) and He gives us His righteousness.  From then on, when God looks at us, He sees “Paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ” and sees His righteousness instead of our filthy rags.  Another post could emerge discussing identity in Christ, but I will leave it here for now.

~*~

I hope you haven’t turned me off yet, because I found this poem on YOU DECIDE called “Shoes in Church” that I find well worth the read. It says it all.  I hope you enjoy it and check yourself next time one of these comparisons pops up in your life.

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