Description by Comparison

Submitted by Chris Conly on Mon, 06/25/2018 - 09:08

“If so and so jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”  Where have we heard those words before?  You got it, from our moms.  Aren’t Momisms great?  Taken literally one would have to ponder a response.  I loved jumping off bridges when I was a kid, as long as there was water below.  More than one bridge above Lake Hamilton has provided me a diving platform, but I knew better than to bring that up when the Momism came at me.  I understood the point being made.  Do not do something just because someone else is doing it.  Be your own person.  Make wise decisions.  Think before you leap (a mom probably said that first).  This same logic is also used when we compare ourselves to others.  We should not find our worth in others.  It is a recipe for disaster.  We can always find someone else that we perceive as better or worse.  It just depends on your desired goal.  Do you want to beat or build yourself up?  Either way, comparing yourself to someone else will only give you a false image of yourself.

Are comparisons always harmful?  Comparisons can be a valuable teaching technique.  Try describing an object that someone has never seen or heard of without comparing it to something they have seen.  Good luck with all that.  To bring understanding of the unknown, a person must begin with the known.  We have to compare.  Sometimes understanding comes in an instant and is grasped forever.  Other comparisons need many layers.  Some comparisons make no sense at all.  Those are called Dadisms.  The risk when using comparisons to describe lies in the balance.  Is the thing being described similar in power to the comparison?  A toy gun that shoots plastic pellets would not be a good comparison to describe the danger of a 357 magnum.  Just because both can be called guns and both shoot a type of projectile, they are not the same.  Their power is not even close. 

So how would you describe God to someone?  A God that has unlimited power, knows all things, created all things, cannot be seen; what compares to God?  There is no power other than God Himself we can use to make a description of God.  So do we just give up, throw in the towel?  Hope that people will figure God out on their own?  We describe the attributes of God, what He has done and the demonstrations of His love and patience.  Try starting with why God is great instead of the greatness of God.  Describe God as action not an object.