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Keeping Up with the Joneses: The Trap of Comparison & the Beauty of Grace

Parenting Points


We have all heard of the proverbial Jones family – the family that every other family aspires to be. The Joneses frequently fill social media with pictures of their perfect family, HGTV award-winning house, and vacation pictures straight off the Travel Channel. The Jones kids only fight over who gets to say the blessing at dinner, and the parents are frequently praised for their servant’s hearts. Deep down inside, every family strives to be the Joneses.

But what are we to do if our family looks much more like the Dunphys, the Pritchetts, the Johnsons, or the Hecks than the Joneses? We can find encouragement and grace for ourselves because we know that God uses each and every family in His own special way for His own special purpose. When Paul’s ministry was being compared to other people’s ministries, he responded with these words in 2 Corinthians 10:12-13 ESV, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence that God assigned to us, to reach even you.” Here are three truths about comparison to remember.

1. Comparison Is a Trap. Paul described those looking to others to define their own status and worth as being “without understanding.” They are missing the point. When we fall into the hole of comparison, we define ourselves by others and do not take the opportunity to understand our place as God’s special creation.

2. Comparison Leads Us to Miss the Blessings in Front of Us. Theodore Roosevelt described comparison as “the thief of joy.” When we are lost in social media looking at others, we miss the fact that God has given us influence and opportunity that only we have. We have been blessed with our family, and though that family may not be picture-perfect, ours is a family that God is doing His work in.

3. Comparison Distracts Us from Our Mission. Paul writes that there are certain people that only he could have reached with the gospel message. In the same way, there are people that only your family can reach and influence.

When we want to compare, we must remember that God is at work by His grace in us and our family. It is in our imperfections that we can most display the beauty of His great grace as we rely on Him to mold us and use our family for His mission.

Healthy Living Stress Ben Birdsong Head shot 1-Dr. Ben Birdsong 

Writer, speaker, and minister

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