Grace is…

When we were in the planning stages of becoming Kindred Grace, the team asked each other, “What is grace?” As we discussed our answers, our three-fold understanding of grace began to help define our new name and purpose. But we thought it would be neat to revisit our own definitions of grace in detail. And more than that, to ask each of you:

how would you define “grace”?

Grace is...

God’s tender, lavish kindness just where I deserve the opposite, for Jesus’ sake, and because His very nature is love. Sometimes it takes the form of reassurance and reconciliation; sometimes it takes the form of specific supply of His character traits and power, in place of my weakest and unloveliest traits.

I think of grace as love with no conditions — abundantly given.  We haven’t just been blessed with the gift of grace to hold to ourselves, but we’re called to extend grace, too.  Grace received and grace shared.

Grace is the ability to do what is right, what I long to do. It is a pardon, an extension, a beautiful second (or third, or fourth, or
seventy-seventh) chance to “do better this time”. It is when God accepts my apologies {again}, and looks over my weaknesses, because He loves me and He knows I’m trying.

Grace to me is the undeserved love, forgiveness and acceptance that Jesus shows me. It’s the way He patiently and consistently shows me a better way, but doesn’t throw me out when I fumble. It’s Him loving me just as I am, but also loving me into a better person.

I’ll hide behind the acronym we all know: Gods Riches at Christ’s Expense  To me, grace is receiving favor and blessing when I so don’t deserve it.

My Father’s mercy and love that I do not deserve.  A free pardon and an amazing gift that I cannot repay.  A sweet mystery, unfathomable, of goodness to me in the face of my wretchedness.

Grace is leaving the gray areas gray and not trying to turn them black and white, remaining firm in our convictions yet always holding to an attitude of teachable humility. Giving yourself grace to not know the answers. Giving others grace to not agree with you.

I think for me, grace is seeing true. And “seeing true” often, in life, means that I simply understand that I CAN’T see.  I also believe that true grace and true love overlap. If we’re walking in love, we’ll be walking in grace. I think the true key to learning grace is to learn understanding.

For me grace is the ability to abide in Christ. It’s the cushion between life’s hard spots and my heart. Grace is like snow shoes. The stuff (snow) of life is still there — grace gives the ability to walk on top of it or through it.  I also like John Piper’s definition: “Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.” For me grace is definitely pardon, but that’s only the beginning. Grace is power and grace is the promise of humility.

Grace is God making me live when I was dead to Him; God loving me when I could not love Him back; God forgiving me when I could not forgive myself; God lavishing me with the fullness of Himself and continuing His favor toward me when I do not (and never will) deserve it; and God giving me the ability to pour out His life, love, forgiveness, and favor to those around me, especially when they (like me) least deserve it.

Grace, to me, is personified by Jesus coming as a tiny baby, by Him saying “not My will, but Thine be done” and drinking the bitter cup of the crucifixion, by Him rising from the grave and saying, in the reality of His resurrected-from-death life, there is always hope: and doing all of this in tender, faithful, courageous, reckless, unconditional (and undeserved) love.
-Elisabeth Allen

Comment and tell us–how would you describe “grace”?

(Join in the discussion over on Facebook, too!)

Click here to read the story of grace.

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