"But for the grace of God, there go I." I think most of us have an easy time saying that of the habitual liar, the occasional drunkard, the one who swears...those with the "easier" sins...the ones that God has no trouble forgiving. But what about the tough ones...the really tough ones? What about the prostitute? The abortionist? The serial killer? I think we turn our faces and put up a question mark. The statement becomes one made in disbelief: "But for the grace of God, there go I?" Really, God? I could be a prostitute? I could be an abortionist? I could be a serial killer?
I have what some would call a morbid taste in reading. I enjoy reading...no, that is not the right word...I am compelled to read, on occasion, true crime stories. Understand, it's not that I enjoy reading descriptions of heinous crimes. Nor is it that reading others' horrendous crimes makes me feel somehow superior. In fact, it does the opposite. It reminds me that "But for the grace of God, there go I." And here is why: What is most striking about all these reprehensible stories is the utter normality of the people, at least at some point in their lives. The serial killer used to be just an ordinary little boy and page by page, we see small stumblings and points where the normal path took a turn and became a little more twisted until the path was so dark and confused that the depth of depravity almost makes sense. How could one not lose oneself in the sin-sickness? Choices, small choices at times, slowly move the normal boy towards a very un-normal adulthood. It is there that I find the "But for the grace of God." It is there that I find, shockingly, myself. But for the grace of God, I could have been a prostitute. But for the grace of God, I could have become an abortionist. But for the grace of God, I could have become a serial killer. But for the grace of God, THERE GO I. Praise God for His grace!
And so, I am compelled to read on. To know why and how. Because knowing the "whys and hows" can save us from ourselves, and send us running toward that grace of God before we continue on, progressively losing ourselves in our sin, a path toward ultimate destruction.