We men tend to be what is called “left brained.” And I am told that women tend to be “right brained.” Men tend to think logically and comparatively and they love rules and order while women think in terms of relationships and making them work with love and mercy. A man sets his perimeter around his home and looks outward where a woman focuses inside the perimeter and wants peace and love to prevail there. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. Somebody pointed out that a man will say, “I think thus and so…” But a woman will say, “I feel thus and so…” One is calculated and the other is emotional. Is God one or the other or both? In Genesis we read that He created man in His own image, male and female made He them. So on the one hand we see the God of Truth and on the other He is the God of mercy. He is both!
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusts in you: yea, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities have passed. I will cry unto God most high; unto God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. (Psalms 57:1-3 KJ2000 – emphasis added)
Surely his salvation is near those that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (Psalms 85:9-10 KJ2000 – emphasis added)
But with men and women it seems to be one or the other. All mercy or all truth. One old sage told me that the mercy and truth of God only meet in Christ, so when we are one or the other in our thinking, we lack Christ’s life in us. Remember that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man can come to the Father but by Him.
Here we have been making comparisons of men to women. What I want to point out is the folly of making comparisons in our relationships. I remember how shocked I was when my dear wife, Dorothy, reacted to a “compliment” from me in our first year of marriage. I simply said, “You sure look pretty… for a change.” She informed me that I gave her a nice compliment and then I took it away in the same sentence by qualifying it. My mother did that all the time. Her love was always conditional. “Michael, do (this or that) so we can be proud of you.” I have learned the hard way over the years (fifty with the same woman) that no woman likes her man to compare her to herself or to other women. Men, to be safe, just don’t do it because they will hear it wrong no matter how you butter it up.
Paul had something to say about making comparisons among ourselves, as well,
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV)
In Hebrews it is clear that there is only one measuring stick that we are to compare ourselves to–God’s own Son.
Therefore seeing we also are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:1-4 KJVCNT – emphasis added)
When we think we are really doing quite well by comparing ourselves to another human or even to the way we used to be, what have we accomplished? The Bible says that Jesus is the First Born of many brethren, and when He appears we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. We are to be looking to Jesus who is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, not our fellow man. Yet in our pride, we choose a lower standard so we look good in our own eyes and the eyes of others.
Another failing in us is the tendency to make another person our idol. Oswald Chambers wrote,
Refusing to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering of human life. And this is how that suffering happens— if we love someone, but do not love God, we demand total perfection and righteousness from that person, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; yet we are demanding of a human being something which he or she cannot possibly give. There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Does the love of God in us compare ourselves with others or their conduct with ours? I was thinking about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 RSVA)
So, to put it in the negative form for contrast — a lack of God’s love (actually a lack of Christ) in us makes us impatient, cruel, jealous, boastful, arrogant and rude when we are with others. We insist on getting our way and are irritable and resentful. We can’t wait until those we don’t like get theirs and rejoice when bad things happen to them. We find things that don’t go our way unbearable, we are filled with doubts and have little endurance in us. Our love for others fails as soon as they cross us.
In the verses above, we do not see a lot comparing going on in the love of God, but in the negative, more human form of it, we see lots of comparisons that have no grace or love toward others. That is the nature of the old man, Adam, that is in us. But with God there is hope because God is love.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10 KJ2000)
In and of ourselves we are wretched and without hope, but in Christ we have great faith, hope and love. It is all a gift from Him. This transformation is totally by the working of God in us. When we have our eyes fixed on Jesus as the Author and the Finisher of our faith, we will not be looking at the failings of others or even at our own. Instead, we will be looking at “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 RSVA)
Great advice! (I want to thank Susanne Schuberth for her valuable input on this subject)