Romans 5:16

Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin:
The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation,
but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

How Do You Compare?

“It’s just a fad. It will never last!” I remember hearing comments like that when social media was in its early stages. That sentiment was grossly miscalculated! Consider the current-active user totals from well-known social media sites:

Linkedin: 106 million
Snapchat: 161 million
Pinterest: 200 million
Google+: 212 million
Twitter: 330 million
Instagram: 800 million (owned by Facebook)
Facebook: 2.2 billion (Yes, billion with a “B”)

There are 7 billion people on the planet. That means nearly 1 in 3 people on earth have a Facebook profile. Just ponder that for a moment.

Social media is a communication tool used by much of our population for everything from sharing family photos, to finding a new job, to getting a date. Like it or not, social media is a major artery of communication that is here to stay.

Just like everything else in life, sin contaminates social media. Some social media sins are more obvious than others – misuse of God’s name (2nd Commandment), cyberbullying (5th Commandment), gossip (8th Commandment), digital adultery, (6th Commandment), etc.

One social media trespass often flies under the radar unnoticed but causes more problems in our lives than we realize: coveting (9th and 10th Commandment).

Coveting is intensely wanting something or someone that you shouldn’t or can’t have. Perhaps more commonly used synonyms would be jealousy, envy, greed, spite, or resentment.

A popular meme with Bill Murray’s face is floating around Facebook with this observation: “Social media is training us to compare our lives… No wonder why everyone is depressed.”

Bingo. Depression is exactly where the sin of coveting leads.

Satan dupes people into playing the comparison game with their “Friends”. People find themselves comparing their lives with the ones they see posted on social media (which don’t always picture reality). Those same people become insecure about who they are and discontent with what they have. Next stop: depression. Such a comparison game is rigged – the Devil wins every time.

Self-evaluation by comparison to other people is not beneficial in any way.

If you want to make a comparison that is worthwhile, one that builds you up and makes you feel loved, listen to St. Paul’s comparison in Romans 5:16:

“Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.”

In other words, go ahead and compare your sin with God’s grace in Jesus. God’s shovel of grace is always bigger than the hole of sin into which you dug yourself.

Jesus loves you so much that he gave up his glory to rescue you from the eternal consequence of sin. Nothing can compare with that unconditional sacrifice of love and forgiveness; not even a whole lifetime of sin.

Your sin is incomparable to God’s immeasurable love for you in Jesus. The comparison of your sin to God’s grace doesn’t lead to depression, discontentment and insecurity — it leads to joy, thanksgiving, and confidence. We all need more of that.

Don’t compare your life to others. Compare it to God’s grace. And make that comparison often.

Written by Brent R. Bitter, Staff Minister