I am guilty of using this phrase irresponsibly. I have used it to mean that another person responded in a way that was kinder and gentler than I would have been.
But the phrase flies in the face of conventional wisdom. All of us have heard the speech that there was nobody better than us, but also that we weren’t better than anybody else. It also goes against my personal belief that each and every one of us is made in the image and likeness of the same God. How then can any one of us be better than another?
Are American lives worth more than the lives of folks seeking refuge at the border? Are Israeli lives more valuable than Palestinian lives? Are religious people better than atheists? What makes us think that way?
The problem is that we are trying to assign value and we are not qualified to do so. We judge by what we see. The problem is that our vision is limited. But God is all-seeing and all-knowing. And he says we have all fallen short.
Perhaps the use of that phrase, “You’re Better than me” shouldn’t be considered a compliment to the other person, but a reminder to ourselves to do better.