The basic affirmation of personal worth and being that occurs in Christian and Jewish monotheism is grounded in a certain understanding of the relationship between God and human beings called grace. This relationship is rooted in the creation of human beings, but it is more than the esteem a creator might have toward the object of creation, more than the familial relationship of being created in the divine image and partaking in the divine nature, more than the essential givens of our humanness.
The thoroughgoing assurance of God’s affirmation of our worth comes through an all-inclusive love called grace. Grace is the acceptance and affirmation of the person before and independent of any action a person can take in the world. Grace affirms that each human being is irreducibly valuable – nothing done or not done can increase or decrease the worth given in the love of God.
“Grace is assured in the covenant God makes with humanity, which is God’s all inclusive, even per-temporal yes to humanity” (Outka 1972: 242).
It is possible for humans to refuse the call of God toward wholeness, to choose to live outside the healing relationships of mutual love, but even this rejection take place within the context of grace. The divine yes is a constant invitation to the renewal of life and to the recovery of integrity. God is for us. This most elemental of convictions of Judaism and Christianity undergirds all healing and liberation.
– Augsburger, D. W., (1986) Pastoral Counselling Across Cultures, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, p. 140