“One of these days I’m going to put it all on Facebook—not just the good stuff!”
My friend Sue’s comment—made casually over lunch with her husband—caused me to laugh out loud and also to think. Social media can be a good thing, helping us stay in touch with and pray for friends across the years and miles. But if we’re not careful, it can also create an unrealistic outlook on life. When much of what we see posted is a “highlight reel” of “the good stuff,” we can be misled into thinking others’ lives are without trouble, and wonder where our own went wrong.
Comparing ourselves with others is a sure recipe for unhappiness. When the disciples compared themselves to each other (see Luke 9:46; 22:24), Jesus quickly discouraged it. Soon after His resurrection, Jesus told Peter how he would suffer for his faith. Peter then turned to John and asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:21–22).
Jesus pointed Peter to the best remedy for unhealthy comparisons. When our minds are focused on God and all He’s done for us, self-focused thoughts fall gently away and we long to follow Him. In place of the world’s competitive strain and stress, He gives us His loving presence and peace. Nothing can compare with Him.
How can you use social media in a God-honouring way? How can a real relationship with God keep you from making unhealthy comparisons?
Some scholars speculate that John 21 was written (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) at a later time than the first 20 chapters and was added to clarify a misunderstanding. Apparently, some believed that Jesus had promised John he wouldn’t die until Jesus returned, and that rumor had spread widely. The so-called “second ending” (ch. 21) was intended to address that false idea by clarifying Jesus’s words (vv. 22–23).