Grace, blessing, or privilege: the puzzle of God's favorites.

Fon Noel Nfebe 2023-10-15 Opinion

I am blessed beyond measure

"Child of Grace,", "Blessed beyond measure", "Grace..." We have all probably met people who claim to be the embodiment of grace and sometimes God's favorite.

For some reason, they believe that God singled them out from a pool of 8 billion+ people to grace them with all the good things they are celebrating.

There are two things that baffle me about people who usually claim to be the most blessed, graced, or "favorited." Firstly, there is usually nothing that distinguishes them from the average person significant enough to give them the prerogative to claim that the most powerful being to ever exist who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and owns everything has noticed them and granted them favors for doing nothing but existing much like other people.

Secondly, I wonder if the place of privilege has been unfairly attributed to mystical grace. Mystical because the majority of people who really need to be blessed do not know what the requirements are to be graced.

Why me?

Imagine Nathalie, a character I made up who grew up in a family setting where both parents were together, private education was her natural birthright, needs were met with ease, and never for a moment did she ever wonder where their next meal would come from. Is Nathalie blessed? Is she graced? Or is it what it is, privilege?

Now think about this for a moment. When you look at your life, do you attribute the advantages you have over other people to the blessing of grace? Well, many do.

On average, someone born in the United States is "1000 steps" ahead of someone born in Cameroon. Here in Cameroon, we are still figuring out healthcare, infrastructure, security, governance, et al. Yet we can take this even further. A child born into a middle-class family in a major city in Cameroon is miles ahead of a child born into a poor background in the same city or, at worst, a remote village still within Cameroon.

Some children can't feed at all or feed well simply because of the family they were born into. Some people develop complications and die because they can't afford healthcare or because it's not accessible at all due to their geography.

How is it then so easy for God to single out people who do not need his favor or grace and lavish it on them?

Why not me? Does God play favorites?

Here's a thought-provoking question: If God truly loves everyone, wouldn't it make more sense for divine grace to favor those without privilege? After all, isn't grace supposed to be the great equalizer, transcending earthly advantages?

You see, it's a peculiar paradox. Suffering souls, burdened by life's hardships, rarely boast of being graced by God because they lack privilege. Instead, they find solace in their faith, seeking strength to endure. Meanwhile, those bathed in privilege tend to attribute it to divine grace, often without realizing that grace might have a broader, more profound purpose if any especially in the context of religion and spirituality.

Are you conscious of your environment?

Well, let's debunk a little misconception. I believe people who are not observant of their immediate environment and, in fact, the world are the kind of people with this misconception, which you will figure out soon. So, being the DJ Cuppy (you know, the daughter of one of the richest men on the African continent, born into the lap of luxury) or the Frank Biya (son of the President of Cameroon, enjoying those 'presidential' perks without a pesky election) in your world isn't exactly what I would call 'grace.' Let's call it what it is: privilege. Sure, life's a bit easier, but it's not exactly divine grace we're talking about here.

Talking about good health. It's not just some celestial grace. No, it's a mix of good luck and choices we make, like eating your veggies and jogging around the block. To say otherwise would be like suggesting the universe has a checklist for divine grace that only some of us get. Even worse, some people do not have a fair start; a sickle cell baby is already sick from birth, and this is one of the most basic and common congenital defects (don't get me started). You know the human body can fail in mysterious ways, and some people really start off on a bad foot! Show some compassion; you are not better (or more blessed) than them! Unless we are talking about the privileges that probability assigns to each and every one of us.

So here's the thing: when you're wading through the swamp of faith, remember that little thing called humility. Be humble, because you have some privileges. Yes, you do. If you are reading this article with your eyes, that's a privilege because "some have eyes but cannot see," as Christians would say thankfully to God. But to be fair, it's not their fault; mostly, some people are born without eyes! What could they have possibly done that made them undeserving of the "blessing" of sight, which we know every normal human should have?

Acknowledge the luck!

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