Beyond Comparisons to Unconditional Love

“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” Words of wisdom from “Desiderata” by Mar Ehrmann.

Comparisons are the beginning of a lot of frustrations and a lot of self-deception. I will always feel both worthless and self-righteous if I keep on comparing myself with others. I might envy others for their talents and achievements, forgetting my own or not being happy with what I have. I might feel righteous and justified if I dwell too much on my talents and achievements, forgetting that there are others who are more gifted and better accomplished than I am.

There are moments I am confronted with the paradox of the singular and the particular. I may be one of many but I am also unique and one of a kind. There is no other one like me. I may be but a speck of star dust in the the cosmic scheme of things; but there is only one ‘me’. Out of infinite possibilities, there only one ‘me’ in this here and now. And it is this unique ‘me’ that God loves infinitely. And God can love all the other singulars and particulars around me with the same infinite love.

Human love is by nature limited. What we often give to one, we can no longer give to another. We long for the unconditional and infinite love that can only come from God. I may not be capable of it but with my will and intellect I can try to approximate God’s love and love unconditionally. I find this thought and project very life-giving. For I have learned that the more I give love, the bigger my love becomes. Love is multiplied when given but it atrophies when kept and stored away.

It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.
~ Psalm 51

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 18:9-14

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