What is grace?
Grace is a difficult concept to understand because as humans, we are used to human relationships. These are the relationships where we make mistakes, ask for forgiveness, pray that it is granted, and work to redeem ourselves so the next time we don’t make the same error. In the realm of counseling and psychology, this process is called rupture and repair. It is a simple process where the therapist demonstrates that relationships can be healed even after a mistake it made. In our day to day lives there are mistakes made, apologies given, and relationships that end or begin again. It is like an equation that makes sense and is easy to understand.
Mistake + Apology = Forgiveness
Grace is somewhat more complicated because our relationship with God is much different than our relationships with one another. Our relationship with God is not an equal partnership. We could try our entire lives to reach the level of perfection that God represents and we would still fall short. God is holy, divine, and does not make mistakes. Ever. Even when we think that God is making a mistake, we just aren’t seeing the whole picture.
Don’t feel bad– everyone does it. We are all naturally flawed. We say things we don’t mean, hurt people we don’t want to hurt, and lie when we mean to tell the truth. All these mistakes we make create fractures within our relationships, however there is nothing we can do to change it. We can try day after day to be better than we were the day before, but perfection will always be unreachable. And that is why we have grace.
God has always been perfect. However, because we can’t reach that same level of perfection, that creates distance between us and God. But He is infinitely loving, forgiving and compassionate. God never wants us to feel far from Him– and that is why He granted us grace.
Grace is not something that we can earn or purchase, it is a gift freely given. All that we have to do is accept it. It is an uncomfortable feeling for most to be given something without expecting anything in return, but that is what makes it especially beautiful. We can actually sit in our fallenness, mistakes, cowardice, and selfishness and know that we are divinely forgiven. When we mess up all we have to do is pray for forgiveness and know that God has granted us grace. Day after day we can rest in the insecurity of imperfection and know that we are surrounded by love without having to do a single thing. If I can’t be perfect, I’m sure glad to know a God that is.