The other night I was at home playing Guitar Hero: World Tour with my wife, April, and throughout the evening I was getting throttled. It doesn’t matter how often I’ve played a particular song she will beat me. We can both get 98% of the notes right, but she’ll get a longer streak of correct notes and beat me by 10,000 points. After losing 5 or 6 songs in a row I started to notice a trend. As I was playing I noticed myself occasionally looking over onto her side of the screen and watching how she was playing. Whenever I got Star Power or a 50 note streak I would quickly look at her screen to see if she had achieved the same accomplishment. These continual and frantic analyses lead to the suffering of my performance. Whenever I shifted my focus and began comparing my skills to hers I would make mistakes and miss notes. My pride and boasting of my quick accomplishments lead to comparisons which eventually lead to my demise.
Obviously this is just a silly game, and I’m proud to admit my wife is better at playing videogames than I am; but as I was playing I was reminded of a biblical proverb.
“First pride, then the crash— the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”
(Translation: The Message)
The more I thought about this I not only thought that it clearly depicted my Guitar Hero play, but it can also describe our lives. So often we go through life comparing ourselves to others. We filter through thousands of criteria – hair style, clothing, stores we shop at, music we listen to, TV shows we watch, color of paint on our bedroom walls, tattoos on our bodies, social cliques we’re a part of, sports we play, hobbies we enjoy, the way we laugh, how we walk, and much much more. We are continually judging people and critiquing their appearance, their interests and who they are so that we can see how they’d fit within our status quo.
The tough reality that I’ve come to realize is that every time I compare myself to someone I’m belittling God’s creation. If I compare myself to an individual and think they’re amazing, then I’ll make them the golden standard and the evaluation of my self is going to look inferior. I will start belittling myself and hating who I am because I don’t measure up to that individual. On the other hand if I compare myself to someone and they don’t measure up to my standards then I begin to degrade them. I get prideful and begin to look condescendingly upon that person as if they were inferior to me because of the way they dress, their athletic ability or their intellect.
In all reality, who are we to honestly evaluate and judge others. As Jesus says, in Matthew 7, we have our own issues and flaws and that gives me no right to point a finger at someone or make a quick comparison about their character or identity.
Nothing good is going to happen when we start comparing ourselves to other people. This applies to all facets of life – on our sports teams, in the classroom, within our homes and families, within the church or even as we’re playing Guitar Hero.