Tell us about: Humanity

You will find and introduction to my BOM theological paperwork here: Doctrinal Exam

(On a personal note: This is one of my favorites!)

¶324.9.c:  What is your understanding of humanity, and the human need for divine grace?

 

God’s love is so intertwined in our being that we do not experience a breath without it. In spite of, maybe because of, the fact that we are broken and driven by fear and shame, divine grace works in our lives. God sees our brokenness, the harm we cause ourselves, others, and the created world, and God’s response is to bring us healing. God’s prevenient grace is, “the divine love that surrounds all humanity and proceeds any and all of our conscious impulses.”[1] God does not wait for us to invite Jesus into our hearts, God does not wait for us to acknowledge his presence, or get our beliefs right. God does all he can to bring healing into the lives of every human being, this is God’s grace. It is at work in our lives long before we understand it or can respond to it, prevenient grace.

 

We however respond by denying God’s healing work in our lives. Out of fear of not being enough, we tell God “no, we don’t need your help.” We turn our back on God and with pride and arrogance, look for our own healing. Because we are deeply unsure if we are worthy of love, we seek healing by seeking perfection, trying to earn the love of others and God. We prove that we are worthy of love by trying to be better than others, often by pointing out their flaws or proving that they are not worthy of love. We attempt to rid ourselves of pain and feeling of unworthiness by causing pain in others, or drowning out the feelings with addiction.  We try to earn love, but fail, because we cannot earn the love we desire. The love we seek is already present and available to us.

 

God sees our brokenness and desires to bring us healing, and many of us tell God no. If we stop telling God no and start allowing God the space in our lives to guide us and give us direction, we find the love we were seeking and begin to truly heal. Justifying grace is our experience of God when we stop saying no; it is like waking to find ourselves in an emergency room for our souls. God does all he can to bandage all the hurts and pains, the brokenness that causes us to make wrong choices again and again. God’s grace changes our hearts and how we live, “Wesleyan theology stresses that a decisive change in the human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”[2] In justifying grace, our wounds are bandaged and we can begin the long healing process.

 

As we heal, we finally see that we are broken, we experience our sins, and we experience the love that we sought. We understand we were never able to bring ourselves the healing that we needed. We see God’s love that was always present and in this knowledge, start responding to it. We begin growing closer to the people God created us to be, “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to increase in the knowledge and love of God and in love for our neighbor.”[3] God’s continued healing work in our lives is sanctifying grace. With Christ guiding our lives, we begin to see the brokenness that surrounds us: in ourselves, our relationships, and in all of creation. Christ walks along side us as we learn to bring healing to the brokenness. Others, going through the same process, also journey with us, sharing their knowledge and experience. In sanctifying grace, we grow as individuals and as a community, bringing healing wherever God calls us to be his presence.

[1] 2012 BOD, ¶102

[2] 2012 BOD, ¶102

[3] 2012 BOD, ¶102

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