However, slaves are like other people, and imbibe similar prejudices. They are apt to think their condition better than that of others. Many, under the influence of this prejudice, think their own masters are better than the masters of other slaves ; and this, too, in some cases, when the very reverse is true. Indeed, it is not uncommon for slaves even to fall out and quarrel among themselves about the relative kindness of their masters, each contending for the superior goodness of his own over that of others. At the very same time, they mutually execrate their masters, when viewed separately. It was so on our plantation. When Col. Lloyd’s slaves met those of Jacob Jepson, they seldom parted without a quarrel about their masters ; Col. Lloyd’s slaves contending that he was the richest, and Mr. Jepson’s slaves that he was the smartest, man of the two. Col. Lloyd’s slaves would boast his ability to buy and sell Jacob Jepson ; Mr. Jepson’s ‘slaves would boast his ability to whip Col. Lloyd. These quarrels would almost always end in a fight between the parties ; those that beat were supposed to have gained the point at issue. . They seemed to think that the greatness of their masters was transferable to themselves. To be a slave, was thought to be bad enough ; but to be a poor man’s slave, was deemed a disgrace, indeed.
Frederick Douglas in chapter VII of My Bondage and My Freedom
No matter the circumstances or condition we are in we always find a way to boast in them. As I read Frederick Douglas’ My Bondage and My Freedom this paragraph made me see human depravity in all humans. We may be slaves but at least we aren’t those slaves.
All are enslaved to sin. Only Christians are freed from sin because of Christ’s death on the cross. Once, before I was a Christian, I found many reasons to boast in myself. I compared myself to others. I was not as bad as some. I was better than many. I was not in certain circumstances like others. I was comparing myself to others. This was not the standard God had set. When I had begun to hear about God’s standard mine was shattered. No longer could I compare my circumstances, situations, conditions, or self to others. I had to compare myself to God’s law and standard.
When my eyes opened to all of our conditions as humanity and mine specifically then I knew I needed redemption. I knew we all needed it.
Until we see this we will be like the slaves that ignored the condition they all were in. Instead, we will continue to compare ourselves with ourselves.