Undeserved kindness versus Grace - does it matter?

by misspeaches 23 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • misspeaches

    Just wondering if its just me or not...

    Does it matter to anyone else that the WTBTS changed the word Grace to Undeserved Kindness in the NWT? In my opinion having changed it to Undeserved Kindness they use this as a way to guilt trip people into always doing more more more! Where as grace is just grace. A gift nothing you have to work for.

    By using the expression Undeserved Kindness they can manipulate people into feeling they have to do more to earn their salvation. Is this right?

    I'd like to hear opinions on the matter...


  • lighthouse1956

    I always thought WTS was just tring to be diifferent from "Christendom"., We have Grace due to the blood of Christ (ransom) and God's love. Grace covers more than undeserved kindness which covers only unintentional Adamic sin.

    Grace is certainly easier to sing about

  • misspeaches
    always thought WTS was just tring to be diifferent from "Christendom".

    Perhaps... I don't know. I just thought that it was something more to do with manipulating the rank & file... Perhaps I'm being paranoid?

  • purplesofa
  • theinfamousone

    maybe the wts is just crazy like a bunch of anyimals and we shouldnt really pay attention to anything they publish and we can all read harry potter and dante and other forbidden books.... oooh, wouldnt that be fun>?????

    the infamous one

  • Scully

    Maybe it's just me, but whenever I thought of "undeserved kindness" being applied to me, I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. That no matter how good I was, no matter how hard I tried to live up to Jehovah's Standards™, I was still a useless, worthless piece of human trash. And the WTS liked it that way.

    When I hear the word "Grace", I think of someone who is especially hospitable. Someone who makes me feel welcome and wanted and valued, not in spite of my flaws - but because of them. Someone who values my uniqueness and loves me unconditionally, without expecting anything in return, because they know I am not ever going to be in a position to repay them for that gift. "Grace" is what I think of when I read the story of the Good Samaritan: he went out of his way to help someone who needed help, without regard for his religious, cultural or racial affiliation. He paid for the wounded man's care in advance, without ever stopping to determine whether this man was in a position to repay. Then he went on his way, and maybe never even saw the man he helped ever again. But his act of grace was instrumental in saving the man from certain death.

    So, yes, I do think there is a difference between Undeserved Kindness™ and Grace.

  • misspeaches

    Thanks for the link purple sofa and the personal thoughts from you Scully. Its nice to know I'm not alone in my reasoning and thinking. There is someone I am trying to help with the difference between the two expressions.

  • moggy lover
    moggy lover

    I suppose in a very strict sense it may not be entirely wrong to substitute the WTS rendering of "underserved kindness" for the simple word "grace" The WT attitude of Freddie Flintstone Franz was: Why use one word to mean something when two or more can make it sound more pompous. Why make something simple when it is so simple to make it complicated.

    The expression "Undeserved Kindness" is the expression that Franz used to render the Greek word "Charis" While it may not be inaccurate to translate the Greek word this way, it does not in any way make the translation any more accurate. I say this for at least two reasons:

    1 It is'nt strictly correct to call "Charis" something that is "undeserved", because most lexicons affirm that the underlying idea behind the term is that of something being "Unmerited" - ie something that we have not, indeed cannot, earn.

    2 The attribute of God displayed in the bestowing of "Charis" on us, goes beyond simply being "Kindness" It displays a deep love that He has for His human creation in that He is willing to grant them favours in order for them to become reconciled to Him. That is why lexicons describe "Charis" as a "Favour" rather than a "kindness" The Enc Of Bible Words [pg 317] describes "Charis'' this way: "It means a gracious favour or benefit bestowed"

    Therefore, I submit that if the WTS Bible wanted to display a leaning to "accuracy" they would have been better off using the expression "Unmerited Favour" [The Amplified Bible suggests: "Spiritual favour and blessing", as does Prof Chas B Williams in his translation. The Simple English Bible has "Gracious Love"]

    Anyway, there is a perfectly adequate one-word translation that we could use - Grace - which is why most intelligible versions do so.

    Besides, as lighthouse 1956 has so eloquently pointed out, "It's so much easier to sing about Grace!!"


  • stevenyc

    misspeaches: "In my opinion having changed it to Undeserved Kindness they use this as a way to guilt trip people into always doing more more more! Where as grace is just grace"

    Congratulations, you win the literacy prize of the day!

    The usage of language in the NWT is propagandist. By inserting "Undeserved Kindness", it places a burden on the reader. A burden that can be slowly payed back by working the societies organ.

    We often write of how stupid these guys in Brooklyn are, with there pyramyd theology and beard etiquette, and forget the clever and relentless ruse they ply.


  • Oroborus21


    In the words of Freud(?), "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

    some read too much into things and give the boys at Bethel a little too much credit. the NWT translators rendered it "undeserved kindness" not in pursuit of any agenda other than their doggedness to butcher the poetry of the scriptures with a too literal translation.

    What is really amazing is that most Witnesses do not understand that what the rest of Christianity refers to as GRACE is what Witnesses call Undeserved Kindness. They refer to the same thing in theory but each term has its own nuances and connotations.

    Undeserved Kindness is off-putting, distancing, it reminds humans of their place in cosmology. We bestow undeserved kindness upon a stray dog when we toss it a morsel or rescue it from an icy river. (And unfortunately, that is how the term seems to place us in relation to God, as Witnesses, who should be thankful for their salvation.)

    Grace on the other hand, in addition to being more beautiful, is intimate, enfolding, it is like God taking us into his arms. It seems more loving.

    So in my opinion Grace would be a much more preferable term.

    But we shouldn't make too much of a fuss over these things since they are English words anyway. We shouldn't forget that the scriptures were not written in English so to whine about word choice and translation is like complaining about how one person describes a rainbow or a sunset as it may differ from how another might describe those things.


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