Over the next two weeks I want to talk about the topic of acceptance. It’s a unique topic and acceptance comes in many different forms. I think there are some misconceptions about what biblical acceptance looks like and I would like to examine it and maybe through this examination it will then in turn allow us to draw closer to our loving Father.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out
Followers of Jesus ought to be the most accepting people in the world. Essentially what Jesus is saying here in the book of John is that if God sends someone your way, you love them and care for them. In addition, don’t turn them away. It’s easy to love and care for people that have it together, but what about people that don’t have it together? Do we just throw them to the side and help the people that are easy to help? Jesus clearly states that if someone is seeking out your help as a mentor – don’t reject them.
You may have accepted Christ into your life, but do you understand that He’s accepted you? He doesn’t love you because of who you are or what you’ve done but because of who He is. How does He make you acceptable? It’s not that you changed or got any better. It’s not that you never sin. It’s by His grace alone.
God wants you to show grace and acceptance to other people, but the problem is most people don’t know the difference between acceptance and approval. They are very, very different. Jesus Christ accepts you completely, but that doesn’t mean He approves of everything you do.
One day Jesus was walking down the street when some religious leaders who were trying to trap Him brought a woman to him who had been caught in adultery. Jesus looked at all of the accusers and said, “Anybody who has never sinned, you get to throw the first stone.” And of course they all walked away. What did Jesus do? He gave acceptance, not approval. He didn’t approve of what she had done, but he accepted the woman and restored her dignity.
That’s what you need to do with the people around you. You don’t have to go around approving of everything everybody does. But you do have to love and accept them, because its a mark that Christ lives in you.
How do you do that? One of the ways you can show acceptance to other people is to listen to them. Love pays attention, so be an active listener. Love listens to the fears and the doubts of others and treats them with respect. Love accepts others the way Jesus accepts you.
How does understanding God has accepted you, change the way you view others and the choices they make?
What is it about your past or personality that keeps you from fully embracing God’s acceptance?
How can you show love and care to others even if you don’t approve of their actions?