Better Than I Deserve…

Often times when someone asks me how I am doing, I will respond with “better than I deserve”. The plethora of looks I get is always interesting. I started saying this about 2 years ago and I am fairly certain I am not the originator of this line, still I like to use it often for a number of reasons.

1. It is usually a great way to start a conversation.

2. It usually causes people to think a bit before responding.

3. I can say it wholeheartedly, because it’s true.

A typical conversation could go as follows: Hi, how are you today? “I am doing better than I deserve.” Then they might say. Hey don’t be so hard on yourself, your a nice guy! “oh, well being nice doesn’t mean I deserve everything I have”. They may reply, Well. I believe people eventually get what they deserve! To which I might say, “so do I”.

From here it can go many directions from just stopping the conversation altogether, to a lengthy debate about who deserves what and how do we measure what we are worth.

Of course what our foundational truth is based on will determine much of the conversation. Personally I believe in God. I believe God loves me and I have accepted that as Truth. Because of that, it shapes the rest of my thoughts, hence foundational truth and what my life is being built on. Therefore my understanding is we are born separated from God. Jesus Christ provided the way for us to bridge that separation, however if we choose not to accept that as the truth then we remain separated.  Using this as a basis therefore we are all deserving of being forever separated from God, but when we accept the bridge that Christ provides we are forever connected to God. In my mind that is doing better than I deserve!

If you believe something different from this, what is it?, and how does it shape how you approach life and the idea of death?



About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
This entry was posted in freedom, God, introspection, life and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Better Than I Deserve…

  1. Wow, JT – one short little post and you actually open up several theological cans of worms!

    My own belief is that in a just universe, you can only “get what you deserve” if you believe in the law of karma and rebirth – which I understand some Christians did for the first 400 years, up until the Council of Nicea. We know from Plato that the belief had been present in that part of the world for at least 500 years. I’ve also thought that several biblical passages echo that belief, as in the man who was born blind that Jesus meets by a well. The disciples ask, “Master, who sinned that man or his parents?” Christian apologists have suggested the people of that time believed one could sin in the womb, which is ludicrous. There are several suggestive passages in Revelations too, like, “He who overcometh I will make a pillar in my father’s house, and he shall go in an out no more.”

    As far as separation goes – my favorite take on that comes from Father Thomas Keating, one of Merton’s students, who helped revive the mode of Christain contemplation he calls “Centering Prayer.” Keaton says, “Original sin means that we come to full reflective consciousness without the knowledge of our union with God.”

    • JT says:

      Yea opening up the cans is easy :-). The whole aspect of deserving is kind of tongue in cheek, ie, when you are born or even as you mentioned the idea of sinning in the womb, in any event I find both ideas ludicrous. When we think of deserving it is often from the perspective of a works based assessment in that assessment I think we apply a fairly liberal set of standards that justify whether or not we have received what we deserve. That being said I do believe we are born already separated from God not because of our own sin but because of a broken fellowship with humanity. This could be a very lengthy discussion. 🙂 Unfortunately I have to go for now but I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this.

  2. “Better than I deserve” is what my husband has been saying for years! That is too funny. I just asked him why he said that and his reply, “We deserved hell.” Love your blog! ~Jen

    • JT says:

      Thanks Jen for the affirmation 🙂 Glad you like it, and I like your blog as well… Just wondering how you found my blog? I am just curious 🙂

      • I was trying to find out where the phrase “better than I deserve” came from!! And your blog showed up in a search. Love it. We’re a missionary family. Just started blogging with my sister who is a missionary to the Muslims in a Middle Eastern County. Also have a daughter in a Middle Eastern County. We are now state side.

        Brand new to blogging. Just a way to connect & various topics. I am Jen & she is Kelly.
        Good to meet you!!

      • JT says:

        Hi Jen and Kelly, That is really neat my wife and I were missionaries in Romania we returned to the states in 2007 after some health issues and an unexpected pregnancy rearranged “our plans”. I look forward to hearing your testimonies. 🙂

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