Week 20: “Accept One Another”
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Accepting one another is difficult when the other person does and says things that are unacceptable. It is important to remember how or, rather, when Christ accepted you. “While you were still a sinner, Christ died for you” (Rom. 5:8). We must take people where they are and love them just as they are. That is exactly what Christ did, and continues to do for us. This, of course, does not mean that we must accept all that people do and say. Jesus does not accept all that you think, do, and say. However, if you belong to him, he does accept you. His love for you cannot allow him to accept what is unacceptable about you and, at the same time, it means you are completely acceptable just as you are. Is this a contradiction? No, it is just two different ways of looking at the same person. A loving father might tell a child, “I love you no matter what you do. You will always be my accepted son or daughter.” That same father will say to the rebellious child, “What you did is completely unacceptable. You can do better and I am disappointed.” The father is not confused and, likely, neither is the child. The difference is clear in principle and practice. It is sometimes described as, “Love the sinner, not the sin.” When you accept someone where they are, and they understand what they really means, you have empowered them to change. When we feel like we can only fail, we probably will. When others believe in us and accept us as we are and, yet, call us forward towards much more, we are likely to become much more. Live the tension by accepting others without accepting all that they do; you will be used by God to help them become more like Christ over time. How does God want you to express acceptance to someone in your life? In your attitude, words, and actions you help them understand they are valuable and worthwhile…just as they are. From that position of acceptance, how can you then encourage them to become more than they are? Acceptance and encouragement are powerful forces in the lives of people. Use them today for the glory of God, for the good of others, and for your own joy.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.