What is Grace?

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LaceWing

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Not "saying grace," but being graced or in a state of grace?

I read very little religious literature, but enjoy novels with modern religious themes of a certain kind. I've yet to understand this term. Seems it's usually couched in other religious language, becoming part of one big extended metaphor that I can't unpack.
 

WildScribe

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In a state where one is being "touched by God"? Or is that another metaphor?
 

Guffy

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The quick answers is that grace is a gift you don't deserve and couldn't get on you own.
 

Calla Lily

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In my experience and research, grace can come in many different ways. It can be part of a sense of peace during prayer, or that extra boost of courage in a dangerous situation, or the knowledge of the right thing to say at the right time to say it.
 

Ruv Draba

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Among my Christian friends, grace comprises gifts given by the Christian god that you didn't deserve to have -- gifts that help you develop as a person. Gifts like patience, tolerance, compassion.

Among my humanist and Buddhist friends it's the same, except we believe that you do deserve them, that you can develop these things yourself with effort, and sometimes you just get lucky. ;)
 

LaceWing

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Ah. Thank you all.

I've found a place to put this now. Existentialism clicked for me, helped me settle questions I wanted to explore, but: the versions I encountered did not have this element, or did not hit me over the head hard enough for me to notice.

No, wait. Martin Buber's I And Thou tried . . . but was too mystic, as if it needed to obscure a mystery in order to honor it, to give it special privilege?

Oh wow. And now I just connected Grace to the pool scene in The Little Prince, one of the most joyful scenes I've ever encountered in either real life or literature.
 

III

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I've always liked this explanation:

Justice is getting what you deserve
Mercy is not getting what you deserve
Grace is getting what you don't deserve
 

Alpha Echo

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I've always liked this explanation:

Justice is getting what you deserve
Mercy is not getting what you deserve
Grace is getting what you don't deserve

Exactly. Simplistic and right on. :)
 

James81

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I don't think looking at it in terms of whether you deserve it or not is a very good way to look at it. If you didn't deserve it, in God's eyes, he wouldn't give it to you.

This is something, that I think, having children helps you understand. My kids make all kinds of mistakes, do all kinds of things to get yelled at, etc. They work on my last nerve sometimes with their antics. And sometimes I have to yell or discipline them or let them fall on their own. Sometimes I have to be tough.

But even in the tough moments, and throughout the rest of the time I don't allow those things, those bad things they do, to really determine if they deserve the good things I give them. To me, my love for them just...is. It exists and it overshadows anything they could do to make me angry.

And that's what I think Grace is. It just is. It's something God extends to us because we are his children and he loves us.
 

Alpha Echo

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I don't think looking at it in terms of whether you deserve it or not is a very good way to look at it. If you didn't deserve it, in God's eyes, he wouldn't give it to you.

This is something, that I think, having children helps you understand. My kids make all kinds of mistakes, do all kinds of things to get yelled at, etc. They work on my last nerve sometimes with their antics. And sometimes I have to yell or discipline them or let them fall on their own. Sometimes I have to be tough.

But even in the tough moments, and throughout the rest of the time I don't allow those things, those bad things they do, to really determine if they deserve the good things I give them. To me, my love for them just...is. It exists and it overshadows anything they could do to make me angry.

And that's what I think Grace is. It just is. It's something God extends to us because we are his children and he loves us.

In the Bible numerous times, we are told that we deserve NOTHING. We are so small, our sins are so dispicable, that should we choose to believe in the Bible, we deserve nothing. Especially not enternal life.

So when God sent his son to die for us, THAT is grace because he gave us a chance at eternal life when we don't deserve it.

What we do deserve is an eternity in hell. Yet, God offers us a way to heaven, a chance to be wiped clean and forgiven. That is mercy.
 

III

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Eeek. Positive things, I hope. (I've seen children hit by cars. Grace?)

AMC

Yes, positive things. A good example is the story of the prodigal son. He abandoned and dishonored his father and squandered his inheritance and returned to beg his father to be his servant.

Justice would have been if his father had turned him away.

Mercy would have been if his father had hired him as a servant.

Grace was when the father ran to meet him, put his best robe on him, and killed the fatted calf and reinstated him as his son.
 

James81

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In the Bible numerous times, we are told that we deserve NOTHING. We are so small, our sins are so dispicable, that should we choose to believe in the Bible, we deserve nothing. Especially not enternal life.

So when God sent his son to die for us, THAT is grace because he gave us a chance at eternal life when we don't deserve it.

What we do deserve is an eternity in hell. Yet, God offers us a way to heaven, a chance to be wiped clean and forgiven. That is mercy.

John 15:

15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.


One of my guilty pleasures is that I loved the movie Pretty Woman. Ha ha, so sue me. But there is a scene in the movie towards the end where Edward looks at Vivian and says, "I have never once treated you like a prostitute."

When he walks away, she mutters under her breath: "You just did."

I think it's understood, that in our natural state (without "God" according to the bible) that we "deserve nothing."

But Jesus has never once talked to us like that. He calls us friends. He calls us his brother. He washed our feet. Not once did he ever treat us like the scum that we can be without him.

And until we accept that, and stop talking like we are "prostitutes", I don't think we can ever appreciate it. You ever notice in that movie how the moment Vivian stops thinking of herself as a prosititute and becomes something more, is the moment her and Edwards relationship gained depth?

My point is that so many christians like to beat up on themselves, say things like they don't deserve it, etc. But God has went out of his way to show his love for you and I think it's kind of spitting on that to say "well I'm just a hooker" to the man who never saw you as a hooker to begin with.

If that makes sense. (and I hope that analogy is ok for this forum)
 

Jean Marie

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Got scared there for a second, huh? :D

Now, let's all say Grace!

That was my paternal grandmother's name. A lovely name, too that fit her perfectly. According to my uncle, I'm a lot like her in her spontaneity.

Grace is all positive. 'Tis a gift, I think and something to strive for. A state of being, a state of mind.

A general sense of peacefulness, of awe.
 

Roger J Carlson

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I like to use an analogy. Like any analogy, it is not perfect.

Each of us is living in a pit of our own devising. Every time we sin (sin being roughly defined as any action that does not love your neighbor has yourself), the pit gets a little deeper.

Grace is God standing at the rim of the pit and holding His hand down. No matter how deep the pit gets, His arm is always long enough. All we have to do is look up and grab it and He'll pull us up. Most of us never look up.

Grace, in order to work, requires us to act. We need to receive it, accept it, grab hold. The amazing thing about grace is, once accepted, God never lets go. Even if you jump back down in the pit, He hauls you back up, again and again.
 

Alpha Echo

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John 15:

15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

One of my guilty pleasures is that I loved the movie Pretty Woman. Ha ha, so sue me. But there is a scene in the movie towards the end where Edward looks at Vivian and says, "I have never once treated you like a prostitute."

When he walks away, she mutters under her breath: "You just did."

I think it's understood, that in our natural state (without "God" according to the bible) that we "deserve nothing."

But Jesus has never once talked to us like that. He calls us friends. He calls us his brother. He washed our feet. Not once did he ever treat us like the scum that we can be without him.

And until we accept that, and stop talking like we are "prostitutes", I don't think we can ever appreciate it. You ever notice in that movie how the moment Vivian stops thinking of herself as a prosititute and becomes something more, is the moment her and Edwards relationship gained depth?

My point is that so many christians like to beat up on themselves, say things like they don't deserve it, etc. But God has went out of his way to show his love for you and I think it's kind of spitting on that to say "well I'm just a hooker" to the man who never saw you as a hooker to begin with.

If that makes sense. (and I hope that analogy is ok for this forum)

I agree. But Jesus and God, they love us all. Even as sinners. Grace is a way offered to get to heaven. But in my faith and my beliefs, despite the fact that God loves us all, not all of us are going to heaven.

I hope no one takes that in such a way that is not intended. I know that we are all walking on egg shells in here, and I completely understand why. I am just stating the foundations of my faith, not condemning anyone or anyone else's faith. I know that a lot of time, Christians are deemed as intolerant because of our beliefs, but how can this not be an open forum if I do not state them? Okay...I'm rambling. I just want it to be known that I am just arguing my point, not anyone's soul.
 

Alpha Echo

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I like to use an analogy. Like any analogy, it is not perfect.

Each of us is living in a pit of our own devising. Every time we sin (sin being roughly defined as any action that does not love your neighbor has yourself), the pit gets a little deeper.

Grace is God standing at the rim of the pit and holding His hand down. No matter how deep the pit gets, His arm is always long enough. All we have to do is look up and grab it and He'll pull us up. Most of us never look up.

Grace, in order to work, requires us to act. We need to receive it, accept it, grab hold. The amazing thing about grace is, once accepted, God never lets go. Even if you jump back down in the pit, He hauls you back up, again and again.

I agree, and I think that that was beautifully said.
 
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