A False And A True Measure 2 Corinthians 10:12

But they themselves, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves, are without understanding.—2 Corinthians 10:12

I wonder how many of you get measured regularly by your father or mother. Are you ever made to take off your shoes and stand very straight and erect with your back against a door, while a book is laid on the top of your head and a little pencil mark is put on the door underneath the book?

I once knew a family of four children who used to be measured like that every three months or so. The marks were made on the inside of a big cupboard door in the schoolroom, and the name of each child and the date was written alongside like this:—Mabel, 1st March 1911; Margaret, 4th June 1912; Norah, 2nd Sept. 1912; Jim, 1st Dec. 1913.

Each time they were measured the younger ones used to count back to see how much bigger or smaller they were than the older ones at the same age. Mabel the eldest, was very tall, and nobody could ever beat her, and poor little Jim who was the youngest was also the smallest for his age. He never seemed to manage to be as big as any of his sisters had been at his age, but I can remember his glee when one day he came and told me that at last he was really and truly a quarter of an inch taller than Margaret had been when she was seven.

These children were “measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves with themselves,” and I think that kind of measuring is very interesting and harmless. But there is another kind of measuring that is not quite so good, and it was this measuring and comparing that St. Paul meant when he wrote this letter to the Corinthian Church. There was a little set in the Church at Corinth who thought their way of doing things was the only right way. They measured themselves by themselves, instead of measuring themselves by something much higher and nobler, and so they never grew any better or wiser. They had a false measure, and it led them to become proud, and self-satisfied, and overbearing.

Now we are all in danger of making the same mistake, and so I want to speak to you about the False Measure and after we have finished talking about that, I want to tell you about the True Measure.
The false way of measuring is to measure ourselves by ourselves. And the reason why it is false is that none of us is perfect.

Once upon a time there was a gentleman who owned a beautiful Chinese plaque. It was ornamented with all sorts of odd dragons and he valued it very highly.

But one day the plaque fell from the wall where it was hanging and it broke in two right down the middle. Some time after, this gentleman had a chance of sending the plaque out to China and of ordering six more. In order that they might be exactly like the broken one, he packed the two bits of it very carefully and sent them out as a copy. A few months later a box arrived from China containing the plaques. Very eagerly he unpacked it, and what do you think he saw? Six plaques exactly the same size as his own one; ornamenting them, exactly the same dragons in exactly the same colors; and down the center of each plaque —a crack exactly like the break down the middle of the original!
That makes you laugh, but do you know that you are just as silly when you copy the mistakes in other people’s characters? So don’t do wrong things just because others are doing them, don’t measure your conscience by theirs.

Just a few words about the True Measure. If we are not to compare ourselves with ourselves, with whom are we to compare ourselves? Well, God has given us a Perfect Example, a True Measure to guide us. He sent Jesus down to earth to show us how we should live, and if we measure ourselves by Him we can never make any mistake.

There is an ancient legend which tells of a wonderful statue of Christ. This statue seemed to be the height of an ordinary man, but whoever measured himself with it always found it just a little taller than himself.

Jesus is above us all, because He wants to lift us up. If we keep looking up to Him and trying to imitate Him we shall grow better and braver and kinder, but if we never try to rise above the earthly standard, the chances are that we shall become less noble and brave and good as the years go on.
Once a lady missionary took a little Hindu orphan boy to live with her. She taught him about Jesus, and one night when he was six years old she told him he might pray a prayer of his own. What do you think he said? “Dear Jesus, make me like what you were when you were six years old.” Jesus came to earth to show not only men and women but also boys and girls how they should live. We are apt to think of Him as a grown man doing kind deeds and speaking wise words, but He was once just as old as you are. And I think none of the boys and girls could pray a better prayer than just this, “Dear Jesus, make me like what you were when you were my age.”

James Hastings' Children's Great Texts Of The Bible - This material seems appropriate for children ages 8-12.  Like the Great Texts Of The Bible (For Adults), this series examines the Great Texts of the Bible, but from a child's perspective. Each section begins with a scripture, and Hastings uses illustrations to relate the meaning of the passage for a child's life.  Hastings focuses on practical lessons and the moral of the story that children might apply to their lives. Because Hastings studied the classics as an undergraduate, many sections include classic poems and classic literature quotes.