Abundant Grace in an Unforgiving World

By Rev. Dr. Kenneth Daniel  •  April 06, 2023

United Church Homes’ recently launched a new software enterprise management system. Everything we thought we once knew how to do competently and quickly has been turned upside down. Like learning a new language, the new system promises great things, but in the meantime, great consternation for our intrepid hardworking teammates.

At the beginning of this, I told everyone that while this project was huge for us, we understood there was a significant learning curve. We understood the curve, but we underestimated the angst to go with it. Many of our staff members reacted as they struggled to learn and master this new system and its many changes to their work processes.

But really this anxiety posed a threat to our basic identity. Yesterday I knew my job and was competent at doing it. Today, not so much. The technology revolution has made many of us feel this way at one time or another. Think of how we shudder when a new version of Windows is released or our phone is due for a software update.

Pressure of Constant Change

Our world operates in a pressure cooker of constant change, which makes the idea of grace almost unimaginable. Keep up or get out of the way is the message. With this pace there is no room for grace, or forgiveness it seems.

This message falls harder on vulnerable populations like non-native speakers, older workers, and those from underserved communities. It is revealed in the way ageism creeps into our lives as older adults face their own learning curves with technologies designed to support them. Consider the way President Joe Biden has been characterized in the media because of his age. And how some commercials sell their anti-aging wares—"Age is a number and mine is unlisted.”

Forgiveness as Grace

Lent is a time in the Christian calendar to contemplate the biggest act of forgiveness imaginable. How do we truly comprehend, let alone respond to, the sacrificial love demonstrated by the Christ? Other religious traditions also have beliefs that support awareness of sin and opportunities to receive forgiveness. It is a need baked into our humanity it seems. We make mistakes. We miss opportunities to do good. We don’t learn our lessons. We fall short. And yet…

Our faith traditions have stories that tell how the divine extends forgiveness and correction, an opportunity to heal and to do better. So as our staff members struggle with these mighty changes in our business life, I have said again and again, “we expect everyone to make mistakes and to learn.” “We will get there together.” “Don’t give up and here’s where you can get help without judgment.”

I had to learn how to do my own timeslips, enter my expenses, and create financial reports that I need. And my faithful executive assistant is very happy to empower me with these tasks and to patiently teach me, too. Grace abounds.

So, let’s take a lesson from the Bible in this. Grace is available when we least expect it; when we least deserve, and when we most need it. We are in this together, in our common humanity. And what seems unimaginable in our human systems is evident in God’s grace, available to all of us. That is the message of the season of grace that comes upon the world. Still learning, no problem. No one has lost their job at UCH because of mistakes made on our new system. Not even me!

For Reflection (either individually or with a group)

Read the blog. Read it a second time, maybe reading it aloud or asking someone else to read it aloud so you can hear it with different intonation and emphases. Then spend some time with the following questions with words, crayons, clay, paints, or anything that helps you reflect more deeply.


  • With what change in your life have you struggled the most? Why?
  • In what situation have you been the recipient of unexpected forgiveness?
  • When do you find it most difficult to extend grace to another?


Download a pdf including the Reflection Questions to share and discuss with friends, family, or members of your faith community small group.

Blog: Copyright 2023, Rev. Ken Daniel, All Rights Reserved.  Photo 210853110 © Josepalbert13 | Dreamstime.com

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Kenneth Daniel

Rev. Dr. Kenneth V. Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of United Church Homes joined the organization in 2011. He serves as Chief Executive Officer of Radiant Alliance, a newly formed non-profit collaboration which includes United Church Homes, Metta Healthcare (Ohio’s Hospice, Pure Healthcare) and Genacross Lutheran Services. Over the past 30 years, Rev. Daniel has worked in a variety of leadership positions in senior living, healthcare and housing services, and as a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Rev. Daniel had a 19-year career with Phoebe Ministries in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He then served for two years as Executive Director of Ingleside at Rock Creek in Washington, D.C. prior to assuming his role at United Church Homes. He earned a master’s degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities where he received the Distinguished Alumni award in 2016. In 2019, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Heidelberg University for his outstanding service to the United Church of Christ and United Church Homes. Rev. Daniel has earned Fellow and Certified Nursing Home Administrator status with the American College of Health Care Administrators. He is the former Chairman of the Board of LeadingAge Ohio and was named Visionary Leader of the Year in 2022. He currently serves on the Board of LeadingAge national.

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