“Outdo One Another in Showing Honor”

“Blogging” is the last thing I should be doing right now.

I have a “meeting” at one that I still need to prep for, and I’m doing a presentation tonight that I haven’t finished constructing, yet. The good new is, I woke up abnormally early today, so hopefully I can fit this in. It’ll probably be short.

It has recently dawned on me (and by recently, I mean over the past couple of weeks) that I deeply struggle with comparing myself to others. As many of you know, this isn’t a “new” concept for me (“Five Lessons I Learned…”), for I’ve been aware of the danger in comparison for a long time, now. The problem is, I am becoming more aware of just how prone I am to the action.

Maybe it’s because I grew up playing sports, and you get better by competing with those around you. Maybe it’s because I always felt like the church pushed me to be better at external deeds, while my heart was in bad condition. (We have to be careful about where our focus is.) Maybe it’s because I continually see models on TV and in magazines and think that they possess true beauty.

Or maybe it’s because I don’t fully understand or meditate enough on the fact that God created me, knows me, and loves me completely.

Anyways, this morning I was reading and came across a passage that deeply impacted me:

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:9 & 10 (ESV)

Did you get that? “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

What does this even mean?!

All of Romans 12 is sprinkled with the concept of putting others before your self.

Verse three reads, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment.”

Verses 14 through 17 contribute this: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty…Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”

It’s fascinating, isn’t it?

God’s call to the church is not one of selfishness. It’s not one of self-promotion or pride. It’s one of humility, care and love.

So where do I go from here?

My thoughts continually lead me in the direction of comparison. For the most part, they always have. The dialogue in my head is easily focused on statements such as, “I wish I has as pretty as her,” or “I wish I could run as fast as him,” or “If only I was as smart as her, then I’d feel okay about myself.” The truth is, however, these thoughts keep me continually focused on myself.

And when I’m focused on myself, I cannot possibly love and care for others the way I’m called to, want to, or should.

So what does it mean to “outdo one another in showing honor?”

I’m no Bible scholar but it seems to me that it cannot be an invitation to some sporting event. If God cares about the condition of our heart, there has to be more to the picture. Perhaps it’s a reminder of where our focus shouldn’t be.

Honoring someone is a selfless act. It’s holding them in high esteem. It’s full of respect. It’s thinking about them before you think about yourself. It’s saying the “kind” thing instead of the thing that probably doesn’t need to be said. It’s choosing to promote them instead of your self.

It’s thinking about your neighbor and seeking to love them well – even if it means sacrifice and a lack of glory for yourself.

In this, there’s no room for comparison, for there’s no room to think about yourself.

What if we all lived free? Free from turning people into rivals and free from making life a game.

What if we lived in the freedom of who we are and used that freedom to genuinely love others?

You can’t love others when you’re focused on yourself.