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Cherished of God

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse… except maybe I am the dead horse, and I need this to keep me motivated.  As I have written a few posts about making comparisons and how much damage that can cause, I continue to find more and more information and articles written by others who have noticed the same issue and want to talk about it, to try to combat this problem.

Last night I talked to my kids about this problem and the two sides that it creates.

When you’re comparing two different candy bars, you are usually picking one that is better than another.  If you compare two different sports teams, you think one is better than the other.

But when you compare yourself to another person, such that one is better than the other, you end up with either pride or envy.  Both of which God has labeled as a type of sin.

After our family discussion we watched this video.

I liked in the story when the brothers finally behaved like brothers again, wrestling with each other and joking around together.  Being the mother of 5 boys, I recognize that type of goofing off as “bonding.”  Knocking a brother around often shows more love than just leaving him alone.

But my most favorite part of this video is that fact that Elder Holland gave advice for overcoming the jealousy and envy that come from comparing.

He also shared an old Danish proverb.

If envy were a fever, all the world would be ill

Pride and envy that come from comparing are wide spread.  Almost all of us have a tendency toward comparing.

Maybe it starts out innocently, as a means to make sure we are dressed appropriately for an occasion, or performing some new task correctly.  But when it slips into a point of thinking poorly about ourselves, or someone else, then it has gone too far.

It is so widespread and so damaging to us as individuals and to our relationships with others that we often don’t even recognize it, and if we do, I don’t think we really know how to just “stop it.”

This is why I was so grateful for the advice that was given on this matter.  First of all I think it is important to recognize where these ill feelings are coming from.  Elder Holland states

Who is it that whispers so subtly in our ear that a gift given to another somehow diminishes the blessings we have received? Who makes us feel that if God is smiling on another, then He surely must somehow be frowning on us? You and I both know who does this—it is the father of all lies. It is Lucifer, our common enemy, whose cry down through the corridors of time is always and to everyone, “Give me thine honor.” 

Realizing that the misery that we cause ourselves in comparisons is started by someone who wants us to ultimately be miserable can help us recognize the lies that are embedded in what we tell ourselves.

The good news is that we don’t have to accept the lies that come into our thoughts.  We can choose to stand up and recognize what is happening when we feel ourselves going into a dark place of misery, pride and envy.  We can then choose to avoid the darkness by returning to the Father and by following the advice that Elder Holland shares at the end of this video.

  1. We can count our many blessings.
  2. We can applaud the accomplishments of others
  3. We can serve others, the finest exercise for the heart ever prescribed.

When all else fails, and we are feeling down in the dark places of life, these are three things that we can do to help recover.

I am so grateful that I found this story, as I relate to the older brother, and find myself often feeling lost.

We all need a little help sometimes, and I’m so grateful for good people who can help us to see the grace of God in our lives.  I hope I can remember these three steps, as I try to love others, and learn to live the life God wants me to live, without comparing myself to the life someone else has been blessed with.

 

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