How can I have confidence before God when others seem to be doing so much better than I am?
As mortals with plenty of weaknesses, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. We compare our looks, our social life, our number of followers on social media. We sometimes even compare our spiritual progress.
In the BYU devotional “Wrestling with Comparisons,” J. B. Haws discusses the account of the Apostle Peter’s desire to speedily enter the Lord’s kingdom, whereas the Apostle John desired to tarry on the earth until Christ comes again (see John 21:20–23 and D&C 7). Brother Haws says, “One might assume that Doctrine and Covenants 7 would read like this: ‘[John] has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what you have done, thou slacker.’…Here’s how it really reads: ‘[John] has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done’” (D&C 7:5, emphasis added). Brother Haws says that although Peter may have been thinking, “Why didn’t I ask for that? John’s desire is so much better than mine!,” Christ didn’t judge Peter’s righteous desire by comparing it to John’s.
That’s because God doesn’t compare our spiritual progress with the progress of others. Rather than comparing Peter with John, God compared Peter only with the former Peter. Likewise, God compares me only with the past me. As Brother Haws says, quoting President Boyd K. Packer, “Your contest is not with [others] but with yourself.”
Brother Haws encourages us to remember what’s really important. He says, “Let’s repeat, ‘The race is against sin, not against each other.’…And then [let’s] walk out the door, forget ourselves, and start concentrating on others.” When we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on serving our neighbors, we’ll find greater strength to accept ourselves for who we are and we’ll stop comparing.
Read “Wrestling with Comparisons,” by J. B. Haws, to learn more about the effects of comparing ourselves to others and how we can learn to stop.
Source: BYU Speeches
—Taylor Nelson, Mormon Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY ROBERT OWEN WAHL
Find more insights
To learn more about comparing yourself to others and understanding your divine potential, watch the BYU devotional “Comparing, Competing, and Individual Worth,” by Merrill J. Christensen.
Check out the Mormon Channel blog post “How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others” for ideas on learning about yourself and your divine worth.