bits from bob....

Making Healthy Comparisons

by Robert J. Young
©, 2002, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." (2 Cor. 10:12)

Verses taken out of content are pretexts (excuses). For example, Jesus' instructions about judging are commonly misunderstood. Do you know Matthew 7 (v. 1) or John 7 (v. 24) better? Does anyone really think one avoids eternal judgment by being tolerant (unjudgmental) toward others? Does Jesus really intend that we never make any judgments? Obviously not, if we are to know the tree by its fruits! (Matt. 7:15-20)

Our text discourages comparisons. Yet in the two chapters immediately preceding, Paul has encouraged the Corinthians in the grace of giving by comparing them to the Macedonians. Paul has equally encouraged the Macedonians by boasting about the eagerness of the Corinthians.

If one renders judgments, one must make right judgments. And one should also know that harsh judgments will always come home! If you make comparisons, do not do so to commend yourself, but to challenge yourself. This is obviously Paul's meaning.

In retrospect, I wish I could withdraw a "bit" from the past. I refer to an article which commended the local congregation concerning Bible classes, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening attendance by a comparison to another congregation doing less in those areas. The intent was to encourage us to keep on doing as we are doing, and to excel even more. But we certainly take no pleasure in the shortcoming of sisters and brothers in other places, and we realize that we have our share of human failures and frustrations.

Information from another church bulletin provides the kind of comparison Paul commends. That congregation typically averages about 90% of morning worship attendance in Bible classes. Here is a comparison, not to commend us, but to challenge us! We seek not to shine brighter by pointing out the tarnish elsewhere, but to shine a bit brighter by seeing and seeking excellence. May our lights shine as brightly as possible!

Note these lessons.

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Last updated January 7, 2002.