Two brothers were known as notorious sinners. They were drunkards, thieves, womanizers, and often got into fist fights. One day, one of the brothers died. The surviving brother went to the preacher and asked if he would do the funeral. The preacher agreed. Then the brother said, “At his funeral, I’d like you to say my brother was a saint.”
“I don’t know if I can do that,” the preacher responded.
“I’ll give you $5,000 if you say ‘My brother was a saint.”
“Done,” he said.
The preacher stood before the small crowd that gathered for the funeral and said, “The man we’re burying today was a liar, a thief, a drunkard, an adulterer, and a blasphemer. I’ve never known anyone as evil as he was. But compared to his brother, he was a saint!”
Comparing ourselves to others is tempting, and rather easy to do. If you’re a “C” student, you might say, “At least I’m not one of those “D” students.” If you tear people down with gossip you may be tempted to say, “At least I’ve never killed anybody.”
Maybe we do that because such comparisons lead us to a sense of spiritual superiority — a false superiority, but superior nonetheless. Comparing ourselves with those “less moral” than we are makes us feel good, but the bar is set pretty low and it doesn’t challenge us to grow.
Do you really want to grow in holiness? If you answered, “Yes,” then look to God’s holiness first. You’ll find it revealed in the person of Christ. Imitate Him, not others. By doing that, you will grow in spiritual maturity.
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Ephesians 5.1