Only you can find your way

Everything is grace. God grants us forgiveness and peace, unconditionally. Together we keep faith alive in daily life. But it is only you who can find your own way. No one else can live your life for you.

En målad tavla med en folkmassa.
Foto: Kristina Strand Larsson /Ikon

It is only you who can find your own way, because only you are in your particular place. No one else can live your life for you. You cannot learn through the mistakes of others, even if you can learn from them. You can't get peace and harmony from others. But you can learn how to read a map and use a compass, or how to find your way using a mobile phone. You can understand how to deal with the consequences of your actions and how you can regain peace when chaos breaks out.

This is a basic theme of the Reformation. You can't surrender your life or your faith to experts. It is not priests who keep faith alive, but all believers together. It is all of us, who wrestle with the misery of existence and rejoice in the good things of life, in constant flux, who can help each other find the right way.

Meaning well, but doing wrong

Another central idea of the Reformation is that people mean well, but do wrong. It is necessary, but not sufficient, to teach people to read, so they can see for themselves how things are. Everyone needs both a compass and help developing the ability to choose the right map. So yes, it is a risky project, the thing we call "the universal priesthood" – that everyone can and should be priests to each other and guide one another in faith and in life. But the alternative is worse – that you don't have anything else to rely on than what experts say and you have nowhere to turn if you see that something is wrong.

You don't need to be afraid

You don't need to be afraid of a judgmental God! Life is serious and you should keep high ideals, but nothing can stop God's restoring and forgiving love when you need it. You can trust that God wishes you well. This is a liberating approach which could also characterise our common life. It makes a difference if many of us trust that the world ultimately rests in the hands of a good God. It gives us reason to hope even when things look bleak. It’s possible to start over again. There are paths to justice and peace, even though we meet resistance.

Cristina Grenholm                                  
The text is a shortened version. The entire text is available in Swedish at