by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
I recently ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since high-school. She looked fabulous! Even more beautiful than when we were kids. As we chatted, I felt another old “friend” creeping up; my high school insecurities. Looking at her made me feel fat, frumpy, and old. Moreover, it was a Sunday I had decided to sleep in, and I looked like I had just rolled out of bed (which I had).
There I was, no makeup, bad hair, and an obvious church skipper! In my insecurity, I felt myself itching to brag about something, anything, to cover my shame. Fortunately, God kept a guard over my mouth to save me from that humiliation!
As I drove away, I asked God why I had reacted that way. My high-school friend had done nothing to make me feel insecure or less-than, but that’s what I had felt. I suddenly realized I had been comparing and judging myself and craving some “fig-leaves.”
The Bible tells a story about a man and a woman in a perfect environment where there was no sin or shame. They also had no need for clothes, shelter, or employment, as all their needs were met by God. Can you imagine a world like that, with all of us on an even playing field and no judgment? That was God’s idea of paradise.
Then the couple ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The ability to compare and judge entered the world. Immediately, the couple judged themselves as shameful and covered themselves with fig-leaves. We have been judging, comparing, and hiding ever since.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I believe that to be true. When we see someone we judge better than us, we feel ashamed. When we find someone we judge to be beneath us, we placate our fragile egos with the idea that we are better than they are. All of it is rubbish and stinks in the nostrils of God.
Remember, God’s idea of paradise is all of us on an even playing field, dependent upon Him to meet our needs. He offered it to us once in the Garden of Eden, and we blew it. His offer was reinstated in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus laid down His will to the Father and agreed to give us His righteousness in exchange for our fig-leaves.
This is what the Gospel says: For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood (Romans 3:23-25).
That is a declaration of freedom from insecurity, judgment, comparison, and shame. It says that, as believers, we have been made right with God and now meet His “glorious standard.” Even on a church-skipping, lousy hair and no-makeup, mess of a day, you still meet His glorious standard. All of us believers are on an even playing field. Our clothing is the righteousness of God, so we have no need for fig-leaves and comparisons. While comparison may be the thief of joy, our Savior declares that while the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, He came to give us life more abundantly. So drop those fig-leaves, they clash with your righteousness.