Monday, December 22, 2008

There, but for Various Circumstances . . .

You know what's currently one of my least favorite sayings?

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

On the surface, the sentiment sounds OK. It encourages sympathy, right? How easily I could be in her shoes . . .

But really, doesn't it suggest that it's God's grace that's keeping me from an undesired fate? And indeed the converse, that God's grace is not being shown to the person whose fate I'm hoping to avoid?

Doesn't this come awfully close to the idea that we're somehow being punished by God when bad things happen to us? That maybe it's our fault for not praying hard enough? That God is petty and vengeful?

Eh. That's not my theology.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

Is it sympathy? Or a sentiment of thank god my life isn't even worse?

Sarahlynn said...

Yeah, I think it can be that. Plus a side helping of implied judgment.