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Do You Know What It Means To Be Touched By Grace?


Excerpt from

'The New Being'



It doesn't mean that we suddenly believe that God exists, or that Jesus is the Saviour, or that the Bible contains the truth.

To believe that something 'is', is almost contrary to the meaning of grace. Furthermore, grace doesn't mean simply that we are making progress in our moral self-control, in our fight against society. Moral progress may be a fruit of grace; but it is not grace itself, and it can even prevent us from receiving grace. .

And certainly (grace) does not happen. . . so long as we think, in our self-complacency, that we have no need of it.

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel our separation is deeper than usual, because we violated another life. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage.

Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: 'You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know'.
Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later.
Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much.
Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything.
Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!
If that happens to us, we experience grace.

After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before, but everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presuppositions, nothing but acceptance.

In the light of this grace, we perceive the power of grace in our relation to others and to ourselves. We experience the grace of being able to look frankly into the eyes of another, the miraculous grace of reunion of life with life.

Paul Tillich



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