Saint Louis University Menu Search

Campus Ministry Reflection

Compare. Compete. Crucify. A reflection by campus minister Robby Francis.

It has almost become second nature to compare ourselves with others. We compare ourselves to the neighbor who has a larger house, the relative who makes more money, the classmate who seem to be smarter than us, and the list goes on. The result of constantly comparing ourselves to others is that we convince ourselves that we’re not enough - that we have to earn both our worth and the love of others. So when we believe that we have to earn our worth, what do we do? We compete because our worth becomes something that has to be won. We add on to our houses so that they’re bigger than our neighbors, even if we can’t afford it; we buy expensive things to make it look like we have more money than we actually do; we sacrifice our well-being to hold certain images.You do enough graphicCompetition in itself isn’t bad and it actually can be quite healthy, but when we’re competing for our worth is when we run into problems. Because that means we have to climb over someone else and they have to lose their worth. So we start to crucify. We crucify others through the negative things we say about people, trying to ruin their images with that hope that our image will improve. We crucify them by talking down to them or trying to make them feel small.

We can see this happen in the story of Jesus. Those in positions of authority saw how popular Jesus was among the people. He was speaking on their level and offering them hope. He did not feel a need to prove himself to them nor they to him. Those in authority felt themselves losing power and so they began to compete with him. They would often try to publicly humiliate him or verbally attack him. Finally, running out of options, they literally crucified him. We can see this same process when we look at other great leaders who have advocated for change, even if their crucifixion was not literal.

If we are really honest with ourselves, we can see that we too have participated in the process. We have compared ourselves to another, leading to competition. And while it might be hard to admit, we have figuratively crucified others. It is painful to admit, but it is important to acknowledge in what ways we have done this. 

So what do we do? I believe it has to start from the very beginning and acknowledge those moments when we feel small or like we are not enough - basically noticing those moments when we are comparing ourselves to others. When we catch ourselves here, we can then pause to take a moment to remember that each of us was created with all the worth we will ever need.