“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” Romans 15:7
Where does the world stand?
No one disputes that we live in a divisive and inhospitable day and age. Many of us feel divided by everything from our particular race, nationality, age, gender, religion, political party, social and marital status, as well as whether or not we’ve been abused!
And that’s just the beginning of the differences and divisions!
Sadly, most are scrambling to choose a side in this vitriolic and hostile climate.
But that kind of response is in stark contrast to the believer’s calling. Christ-followers are to stand alongside, accept and be for each other, not come against each other. In fact, we are even commanded to love not just those who are like us, but those who are our enemies as well (Mt. 5:44).
Quite the courageous calling!
Where did the Apostle Paul stand?
The Apostle Paul wrote the verse shared above during a time when Jewish believers were struggling to accept Gentile believers into the fold. So these kinds of divisions and prejudices we are experiencing are nothing new.
Paul was trying to get the Romans, and us by extension, to focus on how they, as believers, are one in the body of Christ. In fact, every Christ-follower is in God’s family—adopted through their faith in Christ. Accepted and beloved!
Where does Jesus stand?
Jesus accepted the lost not because we were so much like Him or because we could help His cause. If anything, when we were dead in our sins, we were as different from Him as we could be! Not only that, we hurt His cause so much that He accepted the sentence of an unjust and torturous death to pay the penalty for that sin.
Where do I stand?
As a Christ-follower, I’ve made a habit of choosing “one word” to focus on each year, but had decided not to do that this year. However, God had other plans for me—encouraging me to choose “accept” as my one word and focus for 2019.
That’s why this verse speaks so much to me. I typically do not cling to prejudicial views or make a habit of looking down on others because of their differences. Still, I can easily reject people when they hurt me! It is then that I start to focus on their differences, rather than finding common ground or understanding things from their perspectives. When I do that, in essence, I reject my identity as a Christ-follower who loves unconditionally. And that means I reject Christ!
I am committing to accept Christ’s calling in 2019 by reflecting His love and acceptance to all that I encounter in my life. I want to do this out of my love and gratitude for His acceptance of me.
Where do you stand?
Is there a particular group or identity that you’ve embraced only to withdraw from or reject other groups and/or certain people in your life?
Maybe you’re like me and you don’t see yourself as prejudiced as much as self-protective. When someone hurts you, do you recoil and reject them in turn?
If you are a Christ-follower, realize that these choices are not what reflects Christ’s attitude toward you. Worst of all, you miss the opportunity to give Jesus glory as His family member—being His bride, sibling, and the Father’s beloved child.
I hope you’ll join me in standing with Christ today and every day by showing His love and acceptance to everyone you relate to and meet.
You don’t have to accept what they do or represent. But you certainly can accept them as the people in the world that God loved and sent His Son to save (John 3:16).
It is then that we can stand alongside other believers—giving Christ all the glory for loving others through us! That’s certainly a message and attitude that our world is hungering for and needs!
Who knows? Through our acceptance, many in the world might just come on over and stand with us—accepting Christ, His salvation and better way as well!