Note: Before you read further, this is exactly the lesson I am learning right now. So I apologize in advance if this seems too “stream of consciousness.”
This may not seem like a groundbreaking statement, but we all need grace.
But, I do not want to fall into the obvious statement of “we need grace because we sin or fail to love the right things in life.”
Grace is often made into a complex theological doctrine that leads us (I believe falsely) into asking the question of, “who deserves it?” Of course we all need it, but inherently, grace in and of itself is given freely to those that do not seem to “deserve it.”
Again, that is just the common understanding, I guess.
I would like to take another angle…
We all need grace because there are many, if not all of us, that just don’t know what we are doing, how to be human, or even how to be ourselves. Apart from the whole sin talk, we really need grace just to be. In some sense, we need grace just to GROW.
There is something hidden within the human psyche that says we need to “arrive at” or “achieve” who we are supposed to be. You know, the endless treadmill of becoming… rather than just being. Yet, to be human means to constantly be in process, there is not static place to arrive at.
Grace has to take the form of meeting us exactly where we are, as we currently are… in the process of becoming.
Yes. In a deep sense, we all need grace because we are all in process. We are not who we were (for good or bad) but we also are not yet who we might be (for good or bad). Grace is the inexplicable affirmation and acceptance of who we are right here and now with all of our successes and failures, glories and missteps. Grace allows us to be honest with ourselves about who and what we are right now and says “Yes” to the totality of what it sees. Grace allows us to step off the treadmill of self-improvement, self-criticizing, self-reprimanding, self-condemning, self-rationalizing, etc.
We all need grace because without grace we lose the freedom to be limited human beings who are constantly in that space between who/what we are and who/what we think we should be. Without the grace to be honest we end up denying what we currently are (in all of its mixes of light and shadow) as well as defending or projecting our own idealized self-image to ourselves and others. (“I am not that, I am THIS!”)
Quite seriously, we all need grace because we all need the grace to be human, to be less than divine. It’s okay that we are less than divine. In fact, in the beginning of the Bible, God looks at all things that are less than divine as “strongly good” or “very good.” To be human is very good, and all of us need grace to allow ourselves to be just human.
We project so much of our wants and needs on ourselves as well as others. In some sense, we don’t want ourselves or others to be human, we want ourselves or others to be more than human for us. But that is not reality.
Grace is an incredible concept/reality because it allows things to just be. Without any catch, or hidden agendas, without any pursuit to be more or less than human but just… to… be.
To live gracefully does not mean that any of us negate or put aside being human and become divine. If anything, to live gracefully means to lovingly accept reality as it is… and then roundabout find out that is what it means to be divine, by fully accepting our own limited humanity and the limited humanity of others.
After all, “To err is human and to forgive is divine.”