Guest Post: Caroline Flory: “Comparison, Guilt & Redemption”

Jun 18, 2011Find joy today, Write!

I love welcoming voices here! Today, I’m privileged to feature Caroline Flory who writes a spot on piece that convicted me. I pray it blesses you as well.

It can be so easy to unfavorably compare ourselves to others, can’t it?

She writes such remarkable words. So powerful, so beautiful, so elegant. I’ll never be able to write like that.He always prays the right words at the right time. Why can’t I pray so well and so faithfully?

Feelings of fault, discontent, and inadequacy flood in after a mother experiences a miscarriage when another mother has a healthy pregnancy.

She trusts God so much deeper and more fully than I do. I’m a failure.

Notice what happens once the comparison materializes. We take something good about someone else and warp it into a downward spiral of self-deprecation, deeming ourselves unworthy, incapable, or despicable.

When I compare myself to another, guilt overwhelms. Rather than celebrate that person’s success or praise God for their particular talents, I feel guilty. Guilty for not being “enough,” guilty for lacking progress, guilty for experiencing failure … essentially, guilty for being me.

Then, yes, I feel guilty for feeling guilty.

God points me to His truths about guilt-ridden comparison in Philippians. Philippians 2:1-11 tackles humbly serving – both without comparing and with loving unity. Verses 3 and 4 command us to “in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Comparing ourselves to others isn’t looking to their interests. It’s blaming inwards, focusing on ourselves, even if it is our faults.

Just before those verses, we learn that this humility comes from “being united with Christ” and fills us with “comfort from his love…common sharing in the Spirit…tenderness and compassion,” so that we can be “like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (verses 1-2). No shaming judgment here.

The New Bible Commentary says this about Philippians 2:3: “…the practice of humility, considering others better than ourselves,…seeing the strengths and gifts of others and our own weaknesses, failures and limitations” (p. 1252). Rather than comparing myself to another’s qualities, I can view them as God sees them: purposeful gifts for witnessing His goodness. Seeing others’ strengths – and then praising Him for them – upholds that unity of the body of Christ that God so desires us to contribute to as fellow members. If I consider others this way, no guilt emerges.

Guilt narrowly glares inward. I am not good enough for God. I fail too often. I disappoint God.

God graciously declares the opposite. He made us for good . He forgives because He loves . He redeems , no matter how broken we are or feel.

I pray that I – we – can renew my heart to this perspective and build up this amazing body of Christ – and be so thankful for my small, yet unique part in it.

When we persistently gaze on Him, His good, loving redemption pushes out that blameful, hurtful guilt. Our eyes and hearts can remain so locked onto His love that we don’t see comparisons any more. We only see Him.

Author bio: Caroline Flory is a wife, mother of a beautiful and charming toddler son, avid reader, and writer.  She is honored to guest post here on Mary DeMuth’s site. Caroline is also a monthly contributor for the Faith channel with Today’s Housewife. You can find Caroline writing about living faith authentically, family, and books at her personal blog (Under God’s Mighty Hand ). Caroline loves to connect with fellow believers on her blog and on Twitter .