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In his book “Grace,” author and pastor Max Lucado explores the meaning of the word grace and writes, “We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and pre-meal prayers.”

So, what does the word grace mean to you? One of many definitions of grace is “an unmerited assistance given to humans from a spiritual prospective.”

Grace has been said to be a virtue given to the human race.  Some theologians believe grace has to be earned.  German pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that “cheap grace in reality is a self-imparted grace, a pseudo-grace, and in the end the consequences of living by it are very, very costly.”

When I think about grace in my life, I have concluded that my grace is not cheap. I remember many times when I had no control over incidents in my life: like the time I was involved in a car accident at the age of 15. My brother was driving when suddenly another car turned in front of us, causing a head-on-collision. My head hit the windshield causing multiple cuts to my face, forehead and a concussion which changed my life both physical and mental forever. The doctor gave me little hope of surviving through the night but I made it. As my mother often said “thanks to grace son, your life was spared.”

In the affordable housing industry, I have discovered that I can find a reason for praising grace everyday as I counsel senior citizens, people with disabilities and families.

Recently a resident shared with me the heartbreaking story of the death of her 4-year-old son and how that changed her life forever. She spoke about how she prayed to overcome the loss of her son. As tears flowed from her eyes, she said “thanks to grace I was given another son.”

When you settle down to relax tonight, ask yourself: what does grace mean to me?

Chaplain Walter Ghosten

By Chaplain Ghosten