Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
Jesus said to him, “…what is that to you? You follow me!” – John 21:22
We cannot accurately judge our sins or behaviors by comparing ourselves to others. [Tweet that] And when we do so, our assessment of ourselves, our sins, and the consequence of those sins will, most assuredly, be skewed.
I addressed this issue with Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, as we were working toward forgiveness. I wrote,
…one more thought that I have has to do with comparing ourselves to others. I think this is dangerous, yet I believe we all do it to a certain extent….
…we, as Christians, are not to judge ourselves based upon those around us. Many of us look around and consciously or unconsciously compare ourselves to others in the world. We look around and see that there are people out there who have done x or committed y, then we look to ourselves and say, “well, I haven’t done that, so I’m a pretty good person.”
Yet, the Bible teaches us that none are good. That we have all turned away from God, and were, at one time, enemies of God–our creator. We are reminded to be in the world, but not of the world. That we are different, and that we not think more highly of ourselves or our actions than we ought.
When comparing your sentence in relationship to your crime to that of those around you, what you’re essentially saying is that God isn’t in control of your situation; that He didn’t oversee your sentence. That because you had a “reason” [for murdering my dad] it’s somehow better than not having a reason. That you deserve less time because my dad got you really mad?!? As if that’s justification.
While Anthony disagreed with my assessment regarding God ordaining his sentence, he did write back and say, “You were right though in saying we Christians are held to a higher standard and I am wrong to compare my sentence to others.”
The standard we are to meet is God’s standard, not one that is arbitrarily orchestrated in our favor. [Tweet that] And God’s standard requires perfection, which is obviously unattainable and is the reason we need Jesus to save us.
Comparison is folly. Pure and simple. [Tweet that]
Comparison says I sin, but at least I don’t sin like you. (Or I am the worst sinner there is, far greater than you.)
Comparison says I deserve more than you. (Or I am a worm who deserves nothing compared to you.)
Comparison says I am better than you. (Or you are better than me.)
Yet, the fact of the matter is that no one is better than any another. As said before, we all equally stand in need of grace and mercy.