to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6, NKJV)
I’ve written a lot about choices we need to make in order to effectively follow God’s word, and here’s one more: Acceptance. This scripture lets us know that because of God’s mercy and grace, which is His nature, He has made us accepted in His Son Jesus Christ (the Beloved). Acceptance here is defined as to be endued with special honor or is highly favored. It is through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and receiving Him as Savior, that we are reconciled and accepted by God. God made a way for us to be included in His family despite our continued imperfections because it is a gift of His grace not the result of our works.
In our marriages and other relationships of life, one of the most challenging ways of expressing our love is through true acceptance. In a world of social media where everyone seems to have an opinion, and an associated criticism, people are afraid to tell you who they really are. The truth is that, if they share who they really are and you reject them, that is all they have to give. Most people will not open up to you unless they feel accepted. Many will only risk vulnerability if they know they are accepted with all their faults, hang-ups and idiosyncrasies. The truth is that acceptance is a perceived feeling.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, if God can accept us because of the work of Jesus with all our imperfections, why can’t we choose and learn to accept the people we say we love. In our marriages, the differences between spouses is what makes for a fuller experience of life and shared love. I am so glad for the different talents, perspectives, humor, sensitivities, opinions, tastes, and appearance of my wife. I realize that I am a better person and enjoy life more as a result of my involvement with someone very different (but determined to be a blessing) from me.
In our attempt to be more accepting we might ask ourselves how many times a day we ask our spouse or friend, “Why?” You know, why did you do this or that? Consider that the question of why may be intimidating or even threatening. Have you considered that it may be an indication of your level of acceptance? As you go through the day, count how many times you ask why. Evaluate whether it is an indication of genuine curiosity or just your way of voicing subtle disapproval without actually saying, “I wouldn’t have done it that way,” which signals a lack of acceptance. To express your acceptance of other’s differences, work to reduce the number of times you ask why.
The more we can make people feel accepted, the more they will open up to us and allow us to see and get to know the real person. One of the true enjoyments of life and relationships comes from experiencing the freedom that is created through acceptance. Let’s share God’s acceptance of us with others. (Adrian)