Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Grace of God.............. I Need Your Help Here





Is this the right topic on a ttwd blog? I will see what happens when I post this. I am a person who believes there is room for many different spiritual beliefs. There is no one way that is the right way. We are all children of God. So fair warning, if you do not feel comfortable making a comment, that is just fine with me. 

I have friends in every faith, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and more. I have attended services in many spiritual gathering places and have always felt welcomed and grateful for that inclusion. I believe there is room for everyone when we speak of God and that there is absolutely no one way to worship. Listening to one another in these poignant times is the best of all things.

So I am opening up a little discussion here. A friend and I talked while walking. I asked her to define Grace, the Grace of God. She is a person I greatly respect and with minutes of launching into her belief system, she laughed at the way she became quite tongue tied. I emailed one of my closest blog friends and although eloquent and given in a loving way, her definition was still confusing to me. 

I googled "God' s Grace" and could not believe what I found. There were so many interpretations of the meaning of those two words. I wanted a definition, a working definition, so when I used the words "God's Grace", I had a layperson's version that could be easily shared. I wanted to be able to use my definition when I attended the services of friends. I wanted a definition that resonated with my beliefs and respected theirs. I did not want Bible quotes on Grace, but rather a definition that spoke from the heart. I wanted a definition that was inclusive of all beliefs. Do you understand? 


My search was giving me a headache because even the Grace quotes were sounding tongue tied. Then I read this quote below and said a simple prayer of thanks. This seems to be my working definition of Grace for now.  I am curious to hear your working definition, the one you would share with a friend as you took a morning walk. In these times, we need to listen and respect one another. I am listening to you and want to hear your Grace definition. This is not a "quote the Bible" time, but a time to quote from your heart. I look forward to hearing what you write. I would like a definition that spans all religions for all people of the world. Kind of a tall order............. Can you do it? 




Meredith

55 comments:

  1. That's a beautiful definition. I'm Jewish and I don't remember ever learning a definition for this. When I hear people use it I immediately think it is about giving others the benefit of the doubt, assuming the best about others including their intentions, and letting go of cynicism by accepting that what is being said or done is in our best interest because G-d wants it to be that way.
    These are certainly difficult times, and I am personally struggling with much going on. Mostly I struggle with my fears and anxieties for the future (for our country and for my personal family situation). You know what, though? This reminder of G-d's grace reminds me to take a step back. So thank you.
    Hoping you had a lovely Thanksgiving together. Thanks, Meredith, for always being so thoughtful.

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    1. Deena,
      I want to reply on a more personal level, but do not have your email anymore. Please email me. My address is on the blog. I love what wrote.
      Meredith

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    2. Just sent! Looking forward to hearing from you.

      Delete
  2. I don't have a quotable definition. I just think of grace being like the love a parents has for a child. They don't have to do anything to earn that love a mother gives it freely from the moment she knows she's pregnant. It's there when the child misbehaves, it's there when you are disappointed in them and even when they must deal with the consequences of bad choices they've made.

    That's the way I think of grace - it's love you haven't had to earn, it's just there.

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    Replies
    1. PK,
      I really like what you have written. It makes real sense. Thank you.
      Meredith

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  3. I think grace for me is unconditional love. A kind of lave that never wavers, and even when things are going lousy, it is a love you can always tap into and trust that you can lean on that love and get through whatever life throws at you.

    I know you didn't ask for bible quotes, but I remember a woman who used to tell everybody that they were beautifully and wonderfully made. I think God always sees you like that even when you aren't doing things his way. Or when you feel like you are as far from his as you can possibly be.

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  4. Cygnet,
    This is a beautiful thought. Thank you for sharing it.
    Meredith

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  5. Hi Meredith, what a beautiful definition. To me I think of love and forgiveness.

    Hugs
    Roz

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  6. I love this definition, Mere. I guess if I were to have to define God's Grace, it would more visual...I picture strong, loving arms holding me tight in the good times and tighter in the bad. I know...not nearly as articulate as our lovely writers above. Sorry I wasn't more help.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

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    Replies
    1. Cat,
      I love your visual. It works for me too.
      Meredith

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  7. Hi Meredith. I think that the definition on your blog is perfect.
    love Jan, xx

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    1. Jan,
      I sure like that one too, but these other responses are great too.
      Meredith

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  8. It makes me think of a beautiful song I know...in the lyrics it says, "...A heart with some room, a simple safe place, Where I could love you like there’s nothing to lose...asking for grace..." For me grace is love, acceptance, tolerance, patience, kindness,compassion, understanding even when you don't understand, love. And, yes, I said love twice because it is a love that is always present and lives in your heart and all around. Hugs

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    Replies
    1. Terps,
      Thank you for your sincere comment. I agree that Grace is love.
      Meredith

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  9. Hello!

    I think that regardless of faith, or lack of, grace is empathy and forgiveness. To quote a smarter mind than mine, if "all men count with you, but none too much", and if "being hated, don't give way to hating", then I suppose it's grace adorning and leading your life.

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    Replies
    1. Alina,
      I agree that Grace is love and empathy.
      Meredith

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  10. I am spiritual, not religious. Regardless, I think that whatever your path, most would agree there is a higher power. I call it many different things, God, Lord, the Universe, to me they are interchangeable but all mean the same - all emcompassing love and forgiveness.

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    Replies
    1. Leigh,
      Love and forgiveness are central in the definition.
      Thank you,
      Meredith

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  11. Hi Mere, I think of Gods grace as many things. Sometimes it is love and forgiveness and st other times it is the strength we need during difficult struggles. I am thinking precisely of those times we feel we can't move forward. The strength we are given is through Gods Grace and loving embrace.

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    1. Minelle,
      Love and forgiveness are mighty important here for sure.
      Meredith

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  12. Hi Meredith,
    Your quote is very nice so long as it is referring to grace as we understand it in our own lives and in how we interact with others. Your original question wasn't simply about "grace". It was "God's grace" or "The grace of God". If that's what you are trying to define I'd encourage you to do some more personal digging from within your spiritual tradition, if it's something that is important to you. God's grace, however you choose to define it, emanates from God, not from us. It is something God gives TO us. If you decide to go digging, you'll find similar ideas from Christianity, Judaism and Islam as they have the same origins. Beyond that it's trickier b/c understanding of who God is changes dramatically. A very simple definition of God's grace is unmerited favor. It's unearned and undeserved. In the three Abrahamic traditions, God's grace refers to salvation, given to his followers because of their faith. Happy digging!

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    1. Annon,
      I love the idea of God's unmerited love and forgiveness knowing that these are gifts from God. Thank you for sharing.
      Meredith

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  13. Hi Meredith! :) Wow! That is a very interesting question. I read your post when I woke up this morning, and have spent some time thinking about it.

    When I think of God's grace, I think of it as a gift, something given to us all, by God. Grace is that thing that we walk through life with, that allows us be loving, kind, empathetic, understanding, forgiving, and all of those good things. We all have that because it has been given to us. We must choose to use it, and draw upon it. That is the way that I think of it, anyway...

    So interesting to think about. Many hugs,

    <3 Katie

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    1. Katie,
      Here I am writing replies to the comments!!
      I like the idea that Grace is a gift from God allowing forgiveness, empathy, understanding, kindness. Thank you for your comment.
      Meredith

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    2. I think that is wonderful, Meredith! :)

      This is quite a topic! This morning I thought of the hymn Amazing Grace. I have heard it many times, and know some of the lyrics, but it was interesting to google it, and find out about the history of the hymn. The lyrics are relevant to your topic, I think:

      Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
      That sav'd a wretch like me!
      I once was lost, but now am found,
      Was blind, but now I see.

      'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
      And grace my fears reliev'd;
      How precious did that grace appear
      The hour I first believ'd!

      Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
      I have already come;
      'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
      And grace will lead me home.

      The Lord has promis'd good to me,
      His word my hope secures;
      He will my shield and portion be
      As long as life endures.

      Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
      And mortal life shall cease;
      I shall possess, within the veil,
      A life of joy and peace.

      The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
      The sun forbear to shine;
      But God, who call'd me here below,
      Will be forever mine.

      John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

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    3. Katie,
      It was right here all the time...........
      Meredith

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  14. Quakers speak of being held in the light, which to me is love. As not all Quakers are Christians, and some are humanists, this works well for me.

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    1. DF, I love the idea of being held in the light...that is beautiful...I am not religious but I am spiritual and this idea of what it means spoke to me so I wanted to comment on your comment...hope that's okay :-) Hugs

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  15. DF,
    I love the idea of being held in the light.
    Thank you,
    Meredith

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  16. When I think of God's grace I think of God's unconditional love and unmerited favor. :)

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    1. Lilli,
      Simple and true in every way.
      Thank you
      Meredith

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  17. I like to think that I live my life by the way of grace. Grace to me encompasses selflessness, kindness, respect, maturity, as well as simple elegance. When times get tough and I can't show grace I let the universe take over and I trust all will be well. Grace are those gifts that have been given to us that make us better at living this life, if we so choose it.
    A wonderful thought provoking post Meredith. thank you!

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    1. Laurel,
      I love your definition. It strikes a chord with me. as do you.
      Meredith

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  18. M,
    Grace and mercy are very intertwined in my thinking. But I like to think of Mercy as not getting what I deserve. And then Grace is getting what I don't deserve. I hope that makes some sense. This world needs more of both.
    SSB

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    1. SS B,
      I knew your definition would resonate with me. interwined mercy and grace makes all the sense in the world.
      Meredith

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  19. I've never stopped to think about that before Meredith, great topic and love your quote. I think of Gods grace as unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness.

    Hugs Lindy x

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    1. Lindy,
      I love your definition.............unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness............
      Thank you,
      Meredith

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  20. I too had gone on a journey to find the defition of the word grace. I know I found it and I know that God has given it to me though I didn't deserve it. I even have a tattoo saying "by grace". I intentionally didn't read your other comments because I like to try and be original. I think that your picture is pretty much spot on. But it is so much more. Hear I am about to spill my guts about what faith means to me and I get tongue tied. It is so powerful and it is so tied into hope and mercy. Sorry I can't be more specific. I just know that at my worst, God's grace was more than enough. Now I start crying, sorry. Glad you can't see my tears.

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    Replies
    1. Blonide,
      This is a avery emotional topic, I agree.
      Thank you for your comments,
      Meredith

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  21. Meredith,
    I, too, would first think about the words to Amazing Grace. I love the music as well as the lyrics, and I have it on many a playlist.

    When I think about "God's Grace" I know it is something he gives us not to keep to ourselves but to pass on to people around us. One little soul cannot always make a huge difference in this world, but showing kindness to just the little people we meet every day is spreading God's Grace. It is easy to show grace to our loved ones. It takes commitment to bring that to strangers.

    Lovely post, Mere.

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    1. Ella,
      I like the idea of kindness as the grass roots level, ABK always!
      Meredith

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  22. This is a great topic to think about Meredith.
    "Grace" to me means that we care enough about an individual to be respectful of their thoughts and feelings even if they differ from our own. It does also mean to me that one extends mercy when it is necessary, and that we are forgiving of others even when they have wronged us. I also feel that "grace" means it is more than enough. It is sufficient without judgement. Accepting as is regardless of differences. I did not read any other comments here because I wanted to think this through on my own. I hope you and Jack had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are moving into the Christmas season filled with love, joy and peace.

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    1. Annabelle,
      I like your definition of Grace. I like the "more than enough" part of what you said.
      Thank you,
      Meredith

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  23. Meredith,
    I think everyone has encompassed my idea of grace in their own ways above. I think everyone has a bit of a different take and that's how it should be. I do agree with Katie and Ella's references to Amazing Grace as that song speaks well to what grace can be defined as.
    --Baker

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    1. Baker,
      I do think the individual interpretations are really interesting too.
      Thanks,
      Meredith

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  24. Meredith,
    To me God's grace is the overwhelming peace and joy that comes from being absolutely loved, just as I am. I was lost and in emotional pain for a long, long time and when I first experienced grace I was suffused with the most glorious peace. It was a life changing experience.
    N

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    1. N,
      I thought you would stop by. I was waiting for you. I found that peace and joy too.
      Thanks, for your comment.
      Meredith

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  25. God's willingness to use all His ability on your behalf even and especially when you don't deserve it.

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    1. Annon,
      Thank you for your comment. I love the idea of love and forgiveness when you might not deserve it.
      Thanks,
      Meredith

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  26. G- God's
    R- Riches
    A- At
    C- Christ's
    E- Expense

    Grace is the face that love wears when it meets imperfection. - Joseph R. Cooke

    These are 2 of my favorite working definitions.

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    1. Anno,
      Thank you for a very interesting interpretation of God's Grace.
      Meredith

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  27. Hi Meredith,
    Sorry it took so long to respond, but I had to think about this a bit. My answer is not religious, but more spiritual. I have lived with emotional turmoil that is staggering for a very long time. Grace is what gets me through...so let me explain. I have been shown grace in so many ways, kind words when they weren't deserved, forgiveness without asking, understanding when I don't understand myself, acceptance when I am fighting for peace, serenity when I should be in a state of chaos. All of these are signs of grace and given to me at different times, in different ways, but most importantly given without expectation by those who truly love me.
    Mignon

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    1. Mignon,
      Thank you for your interpretation of God's Grace.
      Meredith

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  28. To me grace is undeserved riches. Riches are not monetary. Riches are the many things that I am undeserving of, but am blessed to receive. The richness of being forgiven when I am so very unworthy.

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