I’m Better than You

Alternate versions of Superman

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And I’m proud of it too.

* grins * Calm down. Don’t close the page. Hey, I said don’t close the page! Wait! Come back!

Thanks… whew. Give me a chance to explain myself, eh?

People get so uptight when anyone claims to be better than them at something. Sit down until you are called upon individually to stand! Yipes…

Think about it: what does ‘better’ mean?

“It means you are superior to me.”

Right. It does. What else does it mean?

“That you are worth more than me!”

Right, that too.

* listens to stunned silence for a moment, silently chuckling *

I love lexicology… it’s so much fun.

Think about it. If I beat you easily every time we ever play chess, I am better than you at chess. If I beat you at wrestling, I am better than you at wrestling, and so on. There is nothing wrong with that. It is actually perfectly normal and inescapable. Everyone in this world is inferior to most everyone else on some level, and better than everyone else on almost none.

Let me say that again: everyone is inferior to almost everyone else in the world in some area, and almost no one is better than everyone else at anything.

So get used to it. We aren’t equal. I am better than you. At least at something. If I am paid more, that means I am (quite literally) worth more.

The question is not whether one person is better or worth more or superior to another in any particular skill, or even in all skills together, though. Even if someone was better than every single other person in the world at everything you could possibly measure each other by, his life would not be worth more. He would be worth more, but his life wouldn’t. Our lives are all equal before God, each one worthy of living, each one equally free to be saved, each one equally loved by God.

So if I say I am better than you, I am not talking about in that sense — quite simply because you can’t say it in that sense. People try, but they are stating an oxymoron. The value of your life is not predicated on what you do with it.

But does that mean I should say I am better than you, even when I am referring to intelligence, or vocabulary, or wrestling or chess skills? Should I be proud of it?

Well, proud has a couple meanings. It can mean justly pleased with something, or inordinately pleased with something. I can be proud of my friends for the way they maturely handle situations, or even proud of the fact that I finally worked my way up to one hundred pushups. I can also be arrogant and condescending about both facts.

This arrogance, occurs, I believe, when we get the two kinds of worth that I just talked about mixed up. If we begin to imagine that our value makes our lives any more valuable than anyone else’s life, then we become condescending and arrogant. If we see everyone as having something that they are better than us at, and value them for it, then honest appreciation for our own value is perfectly healthy.

Here is the key: if your appreciation for your own skills or value makes you thankful — honestly thankful — then it isn’t arrogance. If it makes you condescending, then it is the bad kind of pride.

So yes, I am better than you, and proud of it, but you are also better than me. And you should be proud and thankful for it.

That was probably, honestly, the most confusing article I have ever written… hopefully you all will be able to understand it. 🙂

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25 Responses

  1. Haha! I was just told I was better than you! That honestly made me feel better, thanks! And yes, you could beat me at chess and wrestling.

    • Haha, good timing then. 🙂 God blesses in ways we don’t expect. 🙂

      * chuckles * Thanks. I am not the best in either, but I am not the worst either. (I like using the same word two different ways in the same sentence…)

  2. “That was probably, honestly, the most confusing article I have ever written… hopefully you all will be able to understand it.”

    It’s a good thing you said that because if you didn’t, I would have.

    Anyways, great post! (Even if it was a little muddled… ;))

  3. “Everyone is inferior to almost everyone else in the world in some area, and almost no one is better than everyone else at anything.”

    Haha! I love that statement, Jay. Because, honestly, it shows the pride of the human race. We think we are better than people and we get offended when other people say we aren’t. I grew up with my father telling me “Remember, Hannah, there is always some better than you out there, at every possible thing you do.” It’s been a good reminder in my life.

    But furthermore, someone could seem better in an area and really not be. Each one of us is on this planet to learn and to be humble with one another before God. We do this by always reminding ourselves that we can learn from every single person, the people who are inferior as well as the people who are better. We all have different techniques, methods, practices, and it makes a difference in how an activity is played out. 🙂

  4. Jay, it’s not that it’s a confusing article… it’s just that some of us are better at understanding it than you. 😛

  5. I would also add, that those people who are the best in the world at something generally have purposeless lives dedicated to that something only. Garry Kasparov for instance.

    PS We really should play Chess again some day.

    • Absolutely. It is very rare that someone who is a Christian actually dedicates his whole life to one thing and becomes the best in the world at it as the purpose of God.

      * chuckles * Yeah you are better than me on that one. 😀 Sure. 🙂

  6. Yes! Totally agree with you on the above. I also am proud about something!

    I am proud… (wait for it) that I can expertly lose when wrestling you!

    Not that I ever have. >_>

    😉

    – Leighton

  7. Haha, great article. 🙂 As are all the comments. There’s another thing; even people who are the best at something never stay there very long. Someone else will come along who will be better then them.

    “Yeah, I was on top once too. There’s only one way to go from there, and that’s down!” – Mouse Hunt.

    Sorry, had to quote that. 😀 We can learn from people who we are better than, and from people who are better than us.

  8. *Admires her edits*

    Actually, I didn’t notice that it was confusing until I got down to that line. 😛

    But anyways, good point. And really, quite humbling if you think about it…

    Yay, we’re better at a few random things than some people we happen to know. But they are way better than us at other things, and even in the things we can beat that particular person at, there are many, many other people who can beat us at it.

    And, to top it all off, we didn’t even give ourselves those gifts, nor did we create our minds or our bodies. 😛 And then there’s the fact that we wouldn’t even exist without God and that every single breath is a gift. And THEN there’s the fact that a lot of people helped us get better at whatever it is we’re “better” at… so yeah. AND then! There’s the fact that there is always room for improvement. Well. That was a lot of thens.

    I probably just sounded even more muddled than you did, so I will end this comment now. 🙂

    • That’s a really good point, especially the fact that our talents come from God.

      Not confusing at all, but that’s probably another point: some people are better at confusing things then others! 😀

    • Oh it wasn’t so bad. 🙂 Haha. 😀

      Another great point you made there that stuck out: God is always better than us.

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  9. The timing of that could not have been better. The way God works is so astounding.

  10. […] so much, and the way God planned all of my thoughts about boldness and reading about humility (and this post by Jay which has been helpful after the concert!), and the sermon the next morning at church, about Mark […]

  11. Very funny, Jay. I saw that one coming 😀

  12. Nope. When I read the title, I knew where you were going with this one 🙂 Very nice. Thanks.

  13. […] to before, others not. To Love Christ Recent Revolutions – How Do We Think Biblically?  I’m Better than You Why The Insomnia of Jesus Matters to Us (worry sleeplessness VS sleeplessness because of anguished […]

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