No matter how pure our motives and how flawless our discernment process, we depend on God’s grace ultimately to help us make not only good choices, but the best ones.
We count on God’s grace as we examine our hearts. We need grace to help us detach from biases and the sorts of passions—both negative and positive—that can sometimes cloud our judgment.
We count on God’s grace as we seek out information. It’s not always easy to get to the truth of a matter—sometimes it depends on who is supplying the information. Three different people may have three different sets of recommendations as to a job or a major purchase or the best way to deal with a defiant teenager. Sometimes we seek out—perhaps subconsciously—those who generally agree with us and who are less likely to challenge our thinking or our facts.
We count on God’s grace as we listen to the wisdom of Scripture, the Church, and our conscience. Scripture can be misused, misquoted, and misinterpreted in so many ways! I can probably find a specific verse in the Bible to back up anything I want to do. This is why the Scriptures themselves encourage us to study God’s word and meditate on it so that it seeps down into us not just intellectually but in ways that the Holy Spirit can use to transform us. In the same way, we know that the Church has made various bad judgments through its history. God does not magically make the Church omniscient—as the body of Christ, we move forward in community by grace and with constant learning and discernment.
And the human conscience is shaped by situation and conditioning—which is why it took centuries for well-meaning Christians to understand that slavery is wrong and that women and children are full human souls and not the property of men.
My conscience has limits, and so does yours. We make our best judgments, but we pray that God’s grace will continue working in us so that the conscience is shaped, not only by family and culture, but by Divine Love itself.
Just as grace can help us discern, grace can help us when we don’t discern well. Grace is God’s love showing up no matter how things go. Grace helps us grow beyond the mistakes and beyond the situations we cannot control.
Photo by Evi Odioko on Unsplash.
Mahatma Gandhi would say – The still small voice of conscience within you must always be the final arbiter when there is a conflict of duty.
Nice article. Surrender to god completely. This is the only thing we can do and god will take care of the rest.
Writers of this blog, including those with young families, often illustrate how grace informs their lives. It is a blessing to read how God draws them close…and how they respond to The Invitation.
How timely for me to read this. thank you Vinita, I’ve been following you since Days of Deepening Friendship, and somehow you are on target with what I am doing spiritually, and so very helpful.
I am responsible for explaining the St Vincent de Paul Society’s position paper on homelessness. It is a factual account of different elements of the homelessness epidemic here in the US,mostly presented by percentages of population groups.. But I find what you say about grace much more to how we can take care to do our best for our “clients”. “We make our best judgments, but we pray that God’s grace will continue working in us…” “Grace is God’s love showing up no matter how things go. Grace helps us grow beyond the mistakes and beyond the situations we cannot control.” We try to leave our clients with hope, and the knowledge that God loves them, that they are loved and they are lovable. And we pray for resources to do better next time.
By the way, you are loved and lovable too. God bless.
Thank you Vinita. You always share much wisdom!
Thank you so much Vinita. You seem to know my thoughts as your articles always meet my need concerning issues that matter. God bless you