When we ask, “What about her?”, when we “turn” and compare our life unfavorably to another, we tend to cast ourselves in the role of “victim.”
Poor me! I have to deal with this person who dares to have it better than me, right in front of me! How can I help but compare? The disparity is impossible to ignore!
We like to talk about “our temptation to compare” because we’re likely to rake in some sympathy and understanding. And oh how we love sympathy and understanding!
But Scripture calls comparison out for what it is: the sin of envy.
Jonathan Edwards offers this definition:
“Envy [is] a spirit of dissatisfaction with, and opposition to, the prosperity and happiness of others as compared with our own. The thing that the envious person is opposed to, and dislikes is the comparative superiority of the state of honour; or prosperity or happiness, that another may enjoy, over that which he possesses” (emphasis mine).
I’m generally happy for the happiness of others—just so long as it doesn’t exceed my own!
But if they get a bigger house (compared to me) or more attention (compared to me); if they have better health (compared to me) or more obedient children (compared to me); if they are prettier than me, more gifted than me, more fun than me—then a twinge of dislike, a feeling of opposition, a spirit of dissatisfaction begins to rise in my heart.
And that dislike and dissatisfaction are sure signs of envy.