The Antidote to Comparison

Have you thought recently…

  • “I wish I were more like…”
  • “How come that person gets ________ but I get _______?”
  • “Why didn’t God give me ________ like so-and-so?”
  • “I feel stuck when I see others in a better place than me.”
  • “I wish I could have the opportunity to _______ like so-and-so.”
  • The list goes on.

How did I think of these phrases? Because I have thought these phrases as well! It’s easy to compare myself to others and long for something that feels lacking in my life, especially when I see others are more effective, get better opportunities, or are in just a better place than me.

Our Asian background often compares. Part of the cultural heritage is parents “inspiring” their kids by pointing out how their peers are doing better. I am thankful that my parents tried not to do that but I still picked up the habit of internal comparison because it’s found in every culture and it’s also human nature.

So long ago that dinosaurs were still alive, I remember hearing about the “WITTY Principle.” It’s short for Jesus’ question to Peter in John 21.

17 Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Jesus tells Peter his future and says, “Follow me!” But Peter’s reply is to look behind him and ask about John.

Jesus’ reply is “What is that to you?” The first letters of each word spell “WITTY.” The acronym is a clever way to remember an important principle — we should not compare our own circumstances and callings with that of another. It’s all too easy to do when we are ministry leaders and know other people in ministry.

  • My friend is in a bigger church. Jesus says, “What is that to you?”
  • My friend is having a greater impact. Jesus says, “What is that to you?”
  • My friend is in a place of greater respect than I am. Jesus says, “What is that to you?”
  • My friend makes more money than I do. Jesus says, “What is that to you?”
  • My friend has a bigger platform. Jesus says, “What is that to you?’

Every person has a unique path to follow. I don’t know why Solomon got all the riches but Job’s children all died and he lost everything. It doesn’t make sense that Uriah the Hittite was an honorable man but he was taken advantage of by his leader and eventually murdered. A lot of life doesn’t make sense.

The WITTY principle reminds us of Romans 8:28 — whether things are good or bad, God is working for our good. Our tendency is to be like Peter and to look behind us, to see if we’re in the lead or we’re doing better than others. But Jesus reminds us, “Follow me” (John 21:19), just like he charged Peter — to keep our eyes focused on him and looking ahead while steering clear of the comparison trap.

Angela Yee Angela Yee is currently the Director of Ministry and Missions at Saddleback Church Irvine South in Irvine, California. Angela authored The Christian Conference Planner and The Christian Conference Planner Toolkit, published by SummitStar Press.
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