Recently a friend referred to his own developed theory of dealing with pain and suffering by saying to me, “Comparison never helps!” I wrote that statement down and then thought about it for a good while. I have to agree with it at a very deep level.

Here is how this theory works. I break my arm but you loose your arm completely. You feel that compared to me you have it much worse than I do. The problem is my arm still hurts and I am experiencing real pain. For the two of us to compare ourselves, and our respective levels of pain, will serve no good purpose. Your pain is not my pain, end of discussion.

But Christians, like all people, tend to do this comparison shopping of providence all the time. It’s just that Christians can do it with a greater sense of warrant and piety since they believe in God’s active involvement in their lives. But you are you and I am me. We know that no temptation has taken either of us that is not common to all humans. What we don’t know is how each of us will respond to what is unique to us. For this reason comparison in these matters serves no godly purpose at all. I suggest you drop it and you will be far better off in learning to embrace God’s love and providence both.

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  1. Howard Boldt May 14, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    To say that comparison never helps in the relief of suffering is patently false. A friend of ours lost her husband a few years ago and that is exactly what she did and she was helped by it. I know of another who insisted that one should never compare continued with an emotional struggle that separated her from her church.

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