I saw a meme, you know one of those pictures with a statement on it, last night on Facebook. I had not heard of the word “meme” until a friend had messaged me asking if I had seen a “meme” with a particular statement on it. You know we say things sometimes without understanding the word and its context (possibly just like me above). I may think I understand the word meem because a friend of mine messaged me using the word meem and later I saw the word used on a picture: “social meme”. So, I figured that was what a meme was. Ahhhh, now I felt hip and it is much easier to say “meme” than “a picture with a statement in it”, lol! Here is the actual definition if you are curious:
- activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet. Some notable examples include posting a photo of people lying down in public places (called “planking”) and uploading a short video of people dancing to the Harlem Shake.
So the definition of meme was actually much more than what I had originally thought. Now I am able to use the word as it can be used in the varying ways it can be used.
Another word I feel needs a little cleaning off or better understanding is Grace. I hear people say, “Oh I will give grace to so and so”. For me it sounds as though they are superior and are looking down upon the other person by giving them grace. But can we give them grace? Are we using the correct term? Have we misused a biblical word and twisted it to make it something it really isn’t? Have we added or subtracted from the original meaning? Let me explain….
First, I wanted to understand why I and maybe others could so easily confuse mercy and grace. I found it interesting that part of the “archaic” definition of grace is mercy or pardon. If you want to see the definition of grace click here: Merriam Webster dictionary. Archaically in the English language mercy was a part of grace. This combination though is only one way. When you look up mercy you do not find an archaic meaning of grace. Yet, in Greek and Hebrew there are definitely two different words conveying a specific meaning for each. I believe many times when people say we need to give grace to someone they are really meaning mercy. Here is the definition of mercy from Merriam-Webster:
1 a : compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also : lenient or compassionate treatment <begged for mercy> b : imprisonment rather than death imposed as penalty for first-degree murder
2 a : a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion b : a fortunate circumstance <it was a mercy they found her before she froze>
3 : compassionate treatment of those in distress <works of mercy among the poor>
— mercy adjective — at the mercy of: wholly in the power of : with no way to protect oneself against.
Mercy is the Hebrew word chamai which means to spare.
Second, I wanted to know what is GRACE?! If you clicked on the link above you can see in entirety the definition of grace. Short version: it is about saying a prayer before a meal, behavior, polite, good manners, or the ability to move beautifully. We also have the archaic definition I mentioned above. Here is the Divine definition:
- Unmerited, divine assistance given to humans for their sanctification and regeneration; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification coming from God.
Okay, I am in no way capable of this kind of grace giving. I am not Divine. God is. Note the words: regeneration, sanctification, and virtue coming from God. Let’s look at some of my notes I have from bible hub.com regarding the word Grace in Greek and Hebrew:
Grace= xaris (Greek)= ‘extension towards’, ‘free gift’ undeserved favor. The core idea is God’s extension towards man, a favor or freely extending Himself to give Himself away to people. The idea is His favor/Grace is extending towards people because He is inclining/reaching because He is disposed to bless them. This Greek word is closest to the Hebrew word kana=favor, grace, elegance, charming, pleases. Xarisma is where we get the word charisma. Xarisma means “Grace-gift”, the ability to carry out or Divine empowerment (hence the -ma suffix) to carry out God’s plans here on earth. The plural form xaristmata literally means ‘Grace endowments‘.
Please note I bolded disposed and endowments. These words stood out to me and I want to look closer at them. Disposed means “to give a tendency to”. Endowments are “free and natural provision”. The scripture the Lord has had me remembering is this one:
- “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”” Luke 11:13 NASB
Grace (xaris)is multifaceted. It is bigger than what we have defined it as. It is the root of xarisma and xarismata. Meaning it contains so much more. We try to box Grace like we have tried to box God and since God is not boxable neither is the term Grace in the New Covenant. Grace is the New Covenant; Grace is what Jesus did at the Cross for us in the complete exchange; Grace is what we walk in right now in this moment knowing that the sacrifice Jesus made at the Cross was completed; Grace is the understanding that I am a new creation; Grace is free-I can’t do anything to earn it I just receive it; Grace is freedom; Grace is Jesus in me; Grace is me in Jesus; Grace is who I am now in Christ; Grace is all of His benefits; Grace is so difficult to define and fully understand that it has taken an entire New Testament to write about. We can narrow it down to just the gifts of the Spirit or just to Christ wiping away sin.
Yet, it is multicolored, multifaceted and we need to bring it out of the box and live in it.
Because of God’s Grace we are able to give favor, mercy, compassion, forgiveness which are wrapped up in the term Grace. The ability for us to do those things listed above comes because of God’s Grace. Grace, the root word, comes from our Father in heaven through His Son Jesus which then births all the rest of the facets through and in us. Here is what the Lord brought to my attention that I didn’t know before that might illustrate this for you as it did for me:
The term “Eucharist” means: gratitude, from eucharistos grateful, from eu- + charizesthai to show favor, from charis favor, grace, gratitude; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice.
If you notice the word Grace is in the middle of the word Eucharist. Eucharist is another term for the Lord’s Supper when Jesus told His disciples that His body is the bread and His blood is the wine of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:26-29). We eat the bread and drink the juice/wine which represents His body and blood. We consume Him in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:25). He is Divine Grace in its fullness. His promises internally becoming one with us. What we do physically represents what He has done spiritually. We are to stand in the rememberance of ALL that He has done for us and in us. It is as real as the bread and juice we take in. It is the binding contract of Grace and salvation eternal that He performed all by Himself for us. Here is what biblehub.com states: this new covenant binds men to exercise Faith in Christ, and God promises them Grace and salvation eternal. This covenant Christ set up was ratified by undergoing death.
Grace is the New Covenant. Jesus brought Grace through His death and He brought eternal life through His resurrection=The New Covenant. Grace is what we believers walk in daily. We fully have received all of Christ and He fully took ALL of our sin at the Cross. It was a full exchange, period only done by faith. So we can walk in full assurance of who we are in Him. Again it is nothing we did to receive this beautiful multifaceted gift that abounds towards us, works in us and works through is in so many positive ways. But only because of Christ and all we do is believe, have faith in who He is, the Son of God, my Savior. Grab hold of all He did, trust Him, walk in all He did and as we simply keep moving forward in our relationship in Christ we naturally grow more like Christ as we understand more and more of Who He truly is. (Romans 5:1-11 read below)
When someone says they are giving grace to someone I believe it is really more mercy they are giving because it encompasses: compassion, forebearance, treatment of those in distress, need, in a bad spot, struggling etc; or maybe what they are trying to say is that they are forgiving freely (Greek-charizomai=Forgive freely-related to xaris). Either way mercy or forgiveness both come out of the root word Grace (xaris), which always points back to the Grace Jesus brought.
- “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!” Romans 5:1-11 MSG