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There but for the grace of God...

By summerbreeze --

A very nice man in our town has a form of 'Elephant Man' disease. Half of his face is normal (I hate to use the word 'normal') and the other half is a red color with huge bulbous lumps from his forehead to his neck. The eye on that side is pulled downward to the point where I don't believe he can see out of it. Also the arm on that side is small and deformed, and he walks with a limp.

I see this man occasionally in stores and on the street, and he always has a big smile on the one side of his face, and even though I don't know him personally, the people who do say that he's one of the nicest, kindest people you could ever know. His name is Henry.

Last weekend my husband and I stood in a line within a busy restaurant waiting for a table. Who should come up and stand behind us? Two widows that I remembered from the megachurch that I used to belong to. They didn't recognize me, but I sure did them. They were two of the nosiest, opinionated, judgmental, Jeebus-loving old bats you'd care never to run across. (It's surprising they aren't all hunched over, wearing those 3-pound iron crosses around their necks.)

Anyway, while we were waiting, Henry walked by us on his way out the door. I could hear fluttering from behind me, and one of them said, "There but for the grace of God go I," while the other one agreed wholeheartedly. Now, I abhor violence, refusing to watch it on TV or at the movies, but in an instant I felt like turning around and popping them both -- it would have felt sooo good! I was forced to control myself because my husband has heart issues, and confrontations of any kind upset him.

When I was young and I would hear that statement, I assumed that it was from the Bible. It's actually a remark made by John Bradford (circa 1510-1555). However, Christians ever since have adopted it as a Christian truism with which they heartily agree.

Think about it, what this statement really means. To self-involved Christians with tunnel vision, it says "I have received God's Grace; God loves me more than that poor person, obviously."

God's fickle "mercy", and it's O.K. with them!

It saddens my heart when I think of all of the people down through the ages with deformities who were shunned (and worse) by believers because of the stupid belief that because God didn't intervene, then the deformed person MUST have deserved it. This also applies to the mental illnesses. It was seen in the past that the mentally ill suffered from demons, and peoples skulls were drilled with holes so as to let "the demons out." Again, it was seen that God's lack of intervention was proof that "something was 'wrong' with that person."

Man's inhumanity to Man, all courtesy of the all-knowing and all-loving God!

Does "There but for the grace of God go I" offend you? I'd like to hear your views on that statement. Thanks!


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