As yesterday cannot dwell in today, so one man’s life never copies another’s. Commonalities are frequent, yet never pure. One facet of a person’s life may match another’s; but turn the stone and a different face will greet you. We all have many faces, many loves, many ambitions. While some match to our fellows, no combination is ever created twice. Like a man’s thumbprint, his soul is never duplicated.
Be careful not to covet your neighbor’s goods. Why does Christ warn us so often of sinning against our neighbor? Because it is the temptation of human nature to envy those we are closest to. Even more than material possessions, we seem to covet our neighbor’s life. His success, his health, his relationships, his abilities, his influence, and his seeming happiness: these are all included in his “goods”. We have yet to learn that sorrow frequently hides its face, while happiness spins in elusive circles to exaggerate its size. Often, this is no fault of our friends, but is the warped perspective of a nature prone to jealousy.
All things are living and dying save Christ. The longer we covet a thing, the more dying it has become. God makes everything beautiful in its time. The beauty of another’s life should not be compared with our own. Each journey differs in length and terrain, yet wonder and awe grace each, though perhaps at different stages. Some views are found halfway up the mountain, and others only at the top.
Live the life laid out for you. Climb your own mountain, it is the only journey you have been given the strength to complete. You will miss many things which you ought to have seen. Yet, if you are constantly seeking to pour out the love of Christ, many pitfalls will be avoided, though you never see them. Love covers a multitude of sins; not only in the way we view others, but also in the way we obey our Savior. If we sacrifice all things, even giving up our bodies to be burned, yet have not love, we have gained absolutely nothing. Love is our guarantee against comparison. First, God’s love for us. Then, that same love through us for others.
Seek always to love well. It is the only way to live well. Do not waste time looking for shortcuts. The gate of Love is narrow and the way is hard which leads to life, and those who find it are few. Ease and growth are incompatible. You cannot have both, only either. Love is rarely comfortable, because love is growth. Yet this struggle in loving is the very thing which makes Love so beautiful.
Built into God’s commands are God’s blessings. When Christ declared the first and greatest commandment “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”, he knew what the Pharisees did not: that to obey this command from the heart would not bring bondage, but instead, perfect freedom.
When we seek to love others without reserve or condition, we have entered simultaneously a place of struggle and of peace. Struggle, because of the rebellion of the old man; and peace, because the Spirit of God which identifies us as His children belongs within the sanctuary of Love.
This is the practical life of one who would defeat comparison by keeping their eyes fixed on Christ. For is not Christ, God? And is not God, Love? I must say it again. To love well is to live well. Necessarily then, to love with reserve is to live with reserve. But we must run as those who would win. We must not beat the air vainly. We must train. Through the power of Christ’s resurrection, we are called to rise from the dead and do the impossible. We are called to love well.