“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” is a phrase that we have all heard. It’s a phrase that the evil queen speaks in the 1937 Disney film Snow White. She is seeking assurances from the magic mirror that she is the most beautiful woman in the land. The answer she gets is one she doesn’t like. “Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas, she is more fair than thee.” the Magic Mirror tells her. The rest of the movie we see the evil queen try to kill Snow White so that she can once again be the “fairest one of all.”
The dilemma of comparison that Disney presents is one of comparing one’s beauty. I believe comparison can reach farther than just our beauty, especially for Christians. I’m not sure when it starts to happen, because I think it happens at different points for everyone, but at some point in our relationship with Jesus we start comparing ourselves to other Christians. Maybe at first, we don’t intend to compare, but we cannot help thinking after someone prays an “amazing” prayer that we are not as spiritual as that person. Or when someone has some spiritual insight and/or wisdom into a situation and we think we would have “never thought of that.” Or when someone quotes scripture from the Bible and we struggle to even read our Bible. We begin to think that we are subpar Christians and that we don’t measure up to what a Christian is. We compare, and we compare all too often!
I don’t think comparison is bad, but I do think who we compare ourselves to is. Here is what I mean. We tend to compare ourselves with other Christians who in turn also tend to compare themselves with other Christians. With this type of mentality, we put ourselves into a lose-lose situation. People change all the time. What we like, what we eat, what we drink, what we say, what we wear, our favorite sports team, our favorite TV show, etc. changes. If we start comparing ourselves with an ever-changing group of people, even other Christ followers, we will lose. Honestly, who can keep up with the pace of change our world is at right now?
2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV says,
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”
The Apostle Paul is reminding the Christians in Corinth that he himself does not compare himself with others because the others are “without understanding.” In other words, “they too are trying to figure out life.” I also don’t have all the answers and I too struggle at the comparison game, but what would happen if we asked ourselves:
- Who am I comparing my life to?
- How does comparing my life to them help me?
- What does God say my life should look like?
Paul can help us with some answers, because he understands that if we compare ourselves to anyone it needs to be Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV says,
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding [or reflecting] the glory of the Lord, are being transformed [or changed] into the same image from one degree of glory to another.For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
In other words, Christ followers are being changed into a person who will morph into the same image of Christ. Paul knows that the only one we as Christians should be comparing ourselves to is Jesus Christ! How much simpler could life be if we stopped comparing ourselves to the ever-changing person next to us and started comparing ourselves to our never changing God! Looking into a mirror can be difficult because many times we don’t like what we see. However, would believing and understanding that God is shaping you into who He wants you to be, affect how you viewed yourself? What would your life look like if when you looked into the mirror you didn’t see others, but you saw Jesus’s loving and grace-filled face looking back at you?
I have to constantly remind myself that I am God’s creation. God created me and is shaping me to be the person He wants me to be. I have to believe this truth. I have to seek Jesus’s face when looking into the mirror and stop comparing my relationship with Jesus with other Christians, because all too often it leads me to anger, bitterness, and resentment – just like the evil queen! And we all know how that turned out!