I know I've mentioned it before, but I am really struggling in my microbiology class this semester. And I'm not the only one. Our class average is an F. Not just an F, but 46%! So I think it is safe to say that the majority of the class does not have a good grasp on microbiology. Anyway, I've been going into my professor's office hours a lot to get help with concepts I don't understand (basically everything). I've noticed this guy (we'll call him Bob) from my class is there on Fridays because I usually have to wait for him to be done. Last week, I was sitting outside the door and overheard (okay, purposely listened) to this guy talking about our class. Not just talking, but completely bashing the rest of our class for being lazy and not trying. He kept talking about what a great class it is, how awesome the teacher is, how hard he is working, blah, blah, blah...
It made me so upset! Why is he being such a jerk? Doesn't he know that other people can hear? I am not lazy!! I was so indignant. But it got me thinking: Do I do the same thing?
Why do we try so hard to make ourselves seem better than the people around us? Why do we try to build ourselves up by tearing others down? It's not just that guy from my class, although he certainly was verbal about his disdain for his classmates. We all do it! Not in the same way, but I know I certainly feel a lot better about a bad grade if someone else did just as badly as me. It doesn't change the fact that I did badly, so why do I care? Selfishness? Probably. But does that attitude really exude the love of Christ? When I want to make myself better than others, am I loving them above myself? Of course not. I can point the finger at "Bob" but my own attitude show similar self-building aspects.
It just goes to show that this quote is so true. I have always thought of it as comparison can make you feel inferior, but it can also go the opposite way and steal your joy when you think of others as inferior to yourself. You may make yourself feel better temporarily by doing better or having more than someone else, but in the end, that kind of attitude doesn't bring true joy. When we have the love that Christ had for us, we should rejoice in the successes of others. We should be building others up!
I don't have any easy answer. It's certainly not easy to watch someone have lots of good things happen to them when you are struggling. But that doesn't mean it's right to rejoice when others struggle. I believe we would all have a lot more joy if we took time to build each other up. We all struggle and fall at times; let's not make those struggles even harder on those around us.