What is my experience of grace?
Last week, when collectively pondering whether we need to shift our habits, someone closed out his/her post with the following comment: “But even after all the controls, when is it really in our control? Here’s to grace–-to faithfully pursue and gently forgive ourselves along the way.”
I am curious about grace. I took a course on the subject some years back, and I still find the concept elusive. The suggestion here seems to be that grace—or the giver of grace—is the one in control: we should commit ourselves to “right living” but it is not ours alone (or at all) to achieve. Have you experienced that to be true? What, when, or how have you encountered grace? How would you even begin to define it?
Is it, for you, religious? Some would say that the notion of grace is what distinguishes Christianity from other religions, in that salvation derives from unconditional acceptance as opposed to merit-based favor. I’m not sure that is accurate, and I would love for people of various religious traditions to weigh in. What meaning does grace have across different religions, if any?
Of course, grace exists outside of religion as well. We hear the phrase “give yourself some grace,” which implies self-directed gentleness and forgiveness. Someone who moves with grace is elegant; someone who conducts him/herself with grace is poised. How do these secular definitions enhance our understanding of what grace is and how we experience it?
Let’s ponder together what grace is and what our personal experience of it is and has been…