Yes, I have actually asked myself this question. Very occasionally, when I remember the following two things, I have a mini freak out.
- We are all likely capable of unspeakable evil
- It only takes one screw up of epic proportions in the space of a few minutes to completely change your life.
What is it that is restraining me from a momentary epic screw up, and how strong is that thing that’s restraining me?
I was reflecting on this with a very down to earth friend who surprised me with her answer. She said first that we obviously create personal boundaries and make daily choices to adhere to a moral code to reduce the chances of an epic ‘brain fart,’ but that if we accidently screw up, jail isn’t actually the end of the world.
What? I actually thought it was! But she’s right. When you know God and you know grace, screwing up is never the end of the world.
But still, it’s not ideal.
This morning she sent me this quote: “Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.”
Immediately after, I saw this by Challies: “God’s providence is the single greatest hindrance to the tsunamis of sin that would otherwise gush out of our sinful hearts.”
So, I think I’m safe. But it is a good reminder that when I see people who have epically screwed up, I need to remember that “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”