On Grace

I have heard the same story twice in one week, so I saw it as a sign to share:

A person is going 90 mph in a 60 mph zone. The cop pulls the person over. If the cop gives a ticket, that is justice. If the cop gives a warning, that is mercy. If the cop gives you a crispy crème doughnut that is grace.

There is a phrase throughout the bible Matzah Chel B'enei (to find favor in the eyes of...) Sometimes we find favor in the eyes of God, sometimes we find favor in the eyes of authority and sometime we find favor in the eyes of our fellow human being. To find favor (or grace) in this case means to receive a gift for nothing. To merely be gifted with life and the gifts of life, not because one is good or bad, but merely because their existence demands it.

Often, as people, we show mercy or judgement, however, how often do we show grace? How often do we bestow upon someone favor, not because they deserve it, but precisely because they do not. Receiving or bestowing the gift of grace is not because someone else has done something bad because then the gift would be a show of mercy.

Rather bestowing grace, or chen, is merely because, as another human on the planet, even though they have done nothing extraordinarily good or bad, we favor them with a gift (be it a physical one i.e. the doughnut or a less tangible one like love or kindness).

Bestowing grace on others, be it from God, yourself, or receiving it from another person, is pure love. When we allow ourselves to receive and bestow this grace, or pure love, our lives become joyful and the world knows, for a brief glimpse, what peace, shalom, truly looks like.