'Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.' Romans 15:7
Do you know someone who just seems to irritate you to no end? Is one of your relatives so difficult to be around that you avoid family gatherings? And what about that person on the street who is walking too close to you, the one who is dirty and unkempt? Are you guarding your wallet or purse just a little more than usual? Are you sure this person is out to get you?
All of us are guilty of one or more of these things. We judge before we know. We decide a person's worth based on what we observe. In the case of people we know, we judge their actions and their worth by what we 'think' we understand about them. We dismiss them as 'undesirables', even if we do love them. And by avoiding them,we stay out of the line of fire, so to speak, where we have to show love and care towards them. Because we really don't want to.
I have an elderly aunt who I do love dearly. However, she can be a very difficult person. She always has been. She will give you anything she has...but the whole county will know about it! She snoops through our mail, listens to our voice messages, and is probably the most nosy person I know. Yet I love her! She will tell me right out that I need to lose weight, or that my clothes are not in style, or that I spend too much money on frivolous stuff. And she will do this in front of other family members. Yet, STILL, I love her. And I wouldn't hurt her for the world! So, I have had to ask God to help me to accept her. Loving her is not enough.
Jesus accepts all of us. Warts, moles, broken hearts, wayward thoughts, and all. He takes us on part and parcel, withholding nothing from us.He washes us clean of our sins and iniquities with the pureness of His precious blood. He cares not that we are too fat or too thin, or that our clothes are not from Saks.He does not care if we speak perfect English, or if we are missing teeth, or if we don't have a penny to our name. He simply accepts us. So much so, that He died on a cross for us many years ago, thinking of us as He did.
There is no greater love than that which Christ has shown and continues to show to us. And as He teaches us, we are to become like Him. If we love Him, if we believe in Him, and we know who He truly is, then we should be like Him. We should accept those who are different from us, who don't look like us, talk like us,or live like us. We must show them love, no matter how they make us feel, or what we think others may think of us for doing it.
Acceptance. It is a simple but powerful word. Love. That is even more so. And, because of what Jesus did on the cross for us, acceptance and love go hand in hand.
Do it. And then watch your cares, your worries, your trepidations leave you. And see how your actions affect 'these' people. For God works wonders when love is on display. Is this not a higher gift of praise for our Heavenly Father?