Wednesday, December 16, 2009

::what up, doc?

MTV broadcasts a show called Teen Mom.
It chronicles the lives of girls who were formerly featured on the series 16 and Pregnant.
As all of MTV's documentary series tend to do, it captivates me.

Something that has always bothered me is this: if a girl becomes pregnant and finds herself in very difficult straits, there are many who will dismiss her obvious struggle with statements like,

"Well, she brought it on herself!"

"She should've thought of that before she decided to have sex!"

While I understand the tendency to make such statements, I'm also slightly appalled by their hypocrisy.
It seems to me that the human condition is a near-constant stream of our own poor decisions placing us in painful places, so what right do we ever have to degrade someone else for their decisions?
Even if it's something simple as oversleeping and missing a test or a meeting at work, or willfully disobeying the speed limit and getting a ticket, who among us has not been in a difficult situation that we "brought on ourselves?"
The very notion that a person somehow deserves less compassion or concern - and not only that, but ridicule instead - because they were the architect of their own pain? That just seems utterly ludicrous.
I actually have a theory that when you're struggling with something you've "brought on yourself," it hurts more than something that just happens to you, because there is the added factor of guilt in the equation.

It would clearly behoove us all to gaze upon our fellow humans with the humility expressed in
There but for the grace of God, go I.


Erin said...

Always good to be reminded of this. Thanks.

ZSB said...

I have endless compassion for young unwed mothers, especially considering how brave they were to actually go through with having the child.

However, I would push back a little and ask, is there ever a time when you dismiss someone's plight and hand them over to the consequences because they brought it on themselves? Is there a level where foolishness and immorality are so great that we have no choice but to step back and watch the train wreck? What about someone who robs an eldery woman and flips his getaway car and is horribly wounded? What about the racist kid who walks up to ten black teenagers and calls them the N-word. Wouldn't you (at least part of you) say, "Oh well, you had that coming." Or even the idiots on Failblog who jack themselves up doing stupid stunts...

Is this really an either/or? Or is prehaps the best alternative for everyone to just acknowledge that the ex-con, alcoholic, porn addict, or teen mom did bring all this crap down on his/her head and show compassion anyway (which would make that compassion GRACE--undeserved love and favor). It seems to me that's what Jesus modeled. In fact, when people wouldn't own their own sins and failings, he sent them packing. When they were poor in spirit and all too aware of their sinfulness, he opened his unending store of love and mercy for them.

Just my $.02

Anastasia said...

You're welcome, Erin. Thank you.

Zach - You're right, there are definitely times when I would dismiss someone's plight and hand them over to the consequences because they brought it on themselves. The examples you cited are cases that would leave me feeling nothing but contempt.
Your point about grace is, of course, an excellent one.
I don't think it's purely an either/or. I wasn't really intending to make such general blanket statements, so I'm glad you challenged me.


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