A Christian Science perspective: Even if you’re not feeling it right now, God’s abounding grace is influencing your heart.

Many years ago, on a cross-country drive, I was struggling with a lot of concerns as to whether I could meet the challenging work that was confronting me. At one point I thought to myself, “I’ve been doing a lot of mental talking about these issues. God hasn’t been able to get a word in edgewise. It’s time to stop the mental chatter and listen to what God is saying to me.”

As I quieted my thought and entered into a place of prayer and openness to the divine Word, I approached a big tanker-type truck. It had bold letters across it. They said, “GRACE.” That was all. Not “Grace Hauling Co.” Just GRACE. I really had to smile. That was the message that I took with me – that God’s grace was sufficient to carry me forward in the challenging work I had been called to do, and I found it to be true.

But what is grace? A friend defines grace by its letters: God’s Relentless Affection Celebrating Everyone! When I saw the message on the truck, I felt God’s grace in that way – as relentless affection surrounding me and helping me celebrate what I was needing to accomplish rather than being concerned and fearful about it.

I find a verse from Romans so encouraging. Paul writes, “[W]here sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (5:20, New King James Version). Grace abounds! Right where you see a picture of sin abounding, of war, violence, abuse abounding, right there, grace abounds. God’s relentless affection abounds. It may be hard to see when you’re looking at the world from the standpoint of the material senses. But when you dive beneath the surface, you find grace there. Grace abounding there.

Strong’s Greek Lexicon defines grace as “the divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life.” You may feel that sin in some form has influenced your life – either someone else’s sin or your own. But grace – God’s unmerited, unconditional, relentless love – is surrounding you, and it abounds. Even if you’re not feeling it right now, God’s abounding grace is influencing your heart.

Divine grace is an infinite storehouse upon which we can draw freely. The amount of spiritual good to be gained is measured only by our capacity to receive. To embody grace is to manifest a humanity that is spiritually hospitable to Truth. But how often is our thought so filled with personal sense, mortal busyness, human wants and outlining, that it is totally inhospitable to God’s grace? Divine Truth pours comfort and inspiration into the receptive heart, to the exclusion of all else, when we learn to let God’s grace abound in us.

Christ Jesus’ actions are indisputable proof of divine grace and love. He did not punish. He did not condemn. He came to the rescue of humanity, not the judgment of it. For instance, the grace of God outshone the deformity of sin in the woman taken in adultery when Jesus refused to condemn her, but instead showed her that this was the first day of the rest of her sinless life. And when Judas came to betray his Master, do you remember how Jesus addressed him? “Friend” (Matthew 26:50). That is the epitome of grace.

I often ponder the question, What is grace asking of me right now? Is it to repent and open myself more to the divine influence that will wash away all sin? Is it to reach out to be the expression of grace for someone else – God’s relentless grace celebrating that individual? What a joy to know that grace abounds in God’s creation.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.