Links for previous posts in this series here and here...
Acceptance and rejection are among the most powerful behaviors known to man...how many of your devastating life experiences come from feeling rejected--no longer accepted? And how many of your cherished experiences come as a result of feeling completely accepted--one of the group, trusted, secure, respected, wanted, valued, desired. Life feels good when we feel accepted.
Acceptance is defined as the ability to communicate value, worth and esteem to another person.
Four Major Points regarding Acceptance:
1) Acceptance begins with God.
Romans 15:7..."Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
- Jesus took the initiative in accepting me; he took the first big step toward establishing the relationship with me
- He accepted me without any conditions, not based on my performance; in spite of my sin and weaknesses, he accepted me just as I was
- His acceptance of me is forever, no termination point
- Because he accepts me, I am secure, no fear of exclusion or dismissal
- He sees me as a person, without ethnicity, gender, nationality or social status labels
- He valued me enough to give up his life; accepting me cost him dearly
- "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8) expressses God's profound acceptance of us, the degree to which he valued us, and his desire for a relationship with us
- We are to take the initiative in showing acceptance toward others, making them feel valued and respected
- We unconditiaonlly accept others without considering their external features, lifestyle, decisions, habits and so forth (acceptance does not equal approval)
- We do not have the option of rejecting any person, though we may, in a culturally appropriate way, address behaviors that the Bible clearly declares as sinful
- We are to avoid dehumanizing behaviors such as threats, intimidations, power-plays and other ungodly forms of manipulation
- We accept people, period. Like Jesus, we must reject labels such as race, generation and gender as defective guides for how to treat another human being
- We expect that accepting others in these ways may cost us dearly
4) The fourth major point is that accepting each other promotes the mission of God...when we accept one another in spite of our differences, it promotes unity in the body of Christ. This unity reveals the glory of God and the power of his love...if Satan can create dissension among Christians, then they will not be able to accomplish much of significance...therefore, accepting each other becomes "absolutely central to the mission God has given us!"
*Notes for this post taken from the book Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility by Duane Elmer.