National or local tragedy. You know the drill. Camera crews in the face of those suffering. Some sad person (with whom you offer prayers and compassion) says, "I try to remember to be thankful. Someone else has it worse off." Huh?
I wonder about the theology that under girds these statements. While I am aware that I do not know what goes on in someone else's heart, this phrase turns up in almost every story. There is some universality to it and, hence, bears examination.
I would think a Christian would be both thankful and hopeful. Do we feel better because we are not at the bottom of the barrel? There is kind of a perversity to this line of thought. Or do we feel hopeful because we know God redeems. Redeems both our situation and those of others?
Our neighbor's condition is too often our reference point in life. Are we a leg up? Have we lost ground? Commercials on TV play to this weakness of ours and make billions.
I must admit that I do not understand God's economy but I do count on it. My reference point is God's goodness. Do you see yourself as blessed?
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3-10 (NIV)