Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
People with good character have a lot of grace.
John Wesley’s best contribution to theology was his understanding of prevenient grace. This is the grace that “goes before” — it precedes human action and reflects God’s heart for his creation. It’s available to all — there is no “natural man” left in a purely fallen state without a measure of God’s restorative grace.
To keep it simple, it’s Grace before we knew we needed it.
“I have this image of the circus and the trapeze artists, and they’re doing these incredible things way up high and it’s dangerous. Life is like that. Sometimes they begin to fall and there’s a net there. Sometimes it’s people, we begin to fall. And through prevenience, we have a net available to us. Grace is everywhere. We are caught up in the net of God’s care. John Wesley understood this grace. It is this grace that was so compelling for John Wesley that he shared with the whole world, and it reaches out to us today.” Gary Henderson, UMC.