The words came to thought recently, when I was listening to a friend compare her situation to someone else's: "Comparisons are odious."
We all probably recognize thoughts like these: "Their kids have always been so successful. What happened to ours?" "How come we're stuck with this old Chevy, and they can afford a BMW?" Or, how about this one: "I just can't seem to get a really meaningful job like he has. I wonder what people think of me."
That phrase, "Comparisons are odious," was written by John Fortescue way back in the 15th century. And he surely did catch hold of a profound truth. Envy, jealousy, and the feelings of dissatisfaction that accompany these kinds of thoughts are miserable. They stem from believing one lacks something good within himself, herself, that another has.
Yet God, who is infinite good, gives to all equally. We can find and cherish the good we already have and, through gratitude to God, the Giver of all good, magnify it. This does wonders. It prepares us to become more conscious of how He waits to bless us. Comparisons with others often close the eyes to what God has already given, limiting one's consciousness of - and experience of - good.
The Tenth Commandment, given to Moses by God, set a high standard for all time: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's" (Exodus 20:17). This may seem like an impossible ideal to follow in what appears to many to be an age of blatant materialism. Yet over the centuries, people have found themselves able to turn to God for all their needs and to be satisfied as a result. There is comfort in the 23rd psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Verse 1). When a love of God, who is always present, fills the heart, we increasingly feel satisfied, whole, and complete, not in need of anything.
This growing awareness of God's shepherding love opens our eyes to the ample provision already made for each of us. As Christ Jesus proved in his ministry, wherever a need exists, God's love is present to fill that need. The textbook of Christian Science says: "God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more?... Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?...
"... Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pages 2-3).
Comparisons are simply not important when we recognize that each one of us is the individual expression of God. If we were all alike, God would not be fully expressed. But His reflection is infinite; we express His wholeness, wisdom, perfection, and sinless nature in countless ways. God is the source of our identity and the creator of all; we are the good, permanent, and beautiful expression of His being. And Christian Science shows that "the divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal" (Science and Health, Pg. 70).
I've found the closer I feel to God, the more conscious I become of my own distinct identity. And your own individual expression of God, of good, is just as precious. God knows each one of us, loves us all equally, and cherishes the originality we each reflect. Each of us is complete in God. And together we express the fullness of His being. To understand this as spiritual fact is to be removed from any need to compare ourselves with others.
It's by turning wholeheartedly to God and listening for His guidance that we see Him governing us, and find our human affairs blessed with joy, companionship, health, employment, and prosperity that are beyond compare.
If any of you lack
wisdom, let him ask
of God, that giveth
to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not;
and it shall be