Compared to What?
It is ingrained in us from a young age. Most of us don’t realize it until later when it develops further. But from the moment you started making friends and social connections, you started thinking about who you were. You began a journey of trying to self identify so you knew who you were among your peers. For some, this feels good. You are the popular athlete, loved by everyone. There isn’t one person you pass in the hallway at school who does not know your name. For others, it is not as pleasant. You sit alone at lunch because, for whatever reason, you just don’t fit in.
I was the latter. I was not the popular guy. I spent most of my childhood in private schools for young children with behavioral or mental disorders. It is hard to describe the interactions I had with others, but most of them were less than enriching experiences. It wasn’t until high school that I attended a public school. By the time I got to the ninth grade, I had failed to learn the basics of a simple conversation with someone, which resulted in many awkward moments. For me it wasn’t just a struggle to make friends, but to discover who I was and who I was going to be. All of this left me feeling quite insecure.
Have you ever wondered why it is difficult to speak in public? Surveys have shown that most people are more afraid of public speaking than they are afraid of death itself. How could something as simple as public speaking be that difficult? It is hard because all eyes are on you. You have everyone’s attention all at once. You feel self-conscious about your appearance, your posture, and your tone of voice. All of this boils down to one question that comes into your mind. “What do they think of me?”
This question plagues the minds of millions of teens as well as adults. This question has caused thousands to suffer from depression and has resulted in countless suicides. It is this question that gives you butterflies in your stomach before a job interview. It is this question that caused Saul to lose the favor of God because he cared more about what the people of Israel thought of him than what God thought of him. While this question often presents itself through insecurity, it is always caused by pride because insecurity is a result of pride.
Matthew chapter 18:1-6 reads, “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Here we can see the disciples of Jesus attempting to measure themselves among each other in the kingdom of God. Jesus’ answer was quite simple. Children don’t measure themselves because they do not yet have a sense of pride. They don’t know to care about what others think of them. Children are naturally humble.
Here’s the truth. From Heaven’s perspective, there is not much to measure. We are talking about a God who created the heavens and the earth, crowned in glory unfathomable. A God who chose to make us in His image, after His likeness. Then He humbled Himself, came to Earth, showed us the way, died for our sins, and rose again. Why are we to trying to compare ourselves to anyone else? We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. We all are unique and we all have our own purpose to fulfill. God made me to be me and He made you to be you. There is no higher calling than to be the clay in the potter’s hands. And there is no rank that can come close to that of the King of kings and Lord of lords. As the psalmist said, “We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.” Compared to Him, we are nothing. But to Him we mean everything!