2009-12-25

Acceptance - The Best Christmas Gift

Worldly wisdom is about performance for acceptance. Show me your performance first then I will accept you. This is so in grained in our thinking that even after we are accepted by God through faith in Jesus Christ's atonement for us, we still frequently regress to work for acceptance. This is easily seen in the Galatians as they were rebuked by Paul in the Book of Galatians. After salvation, they wanted to go back to the work of the Law for justification again.

Biblical wisdom called for the acceptance of the person first, though not the deeds of the person. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. Jesus love us even when we were rebellious against Him. If we can be freed of sins, then we don't need Jesus at all. So we must be clear of the meaning of acceptance.


Definition of Acceptance of a Person
Acceptance means that we receive and love the person as he/she is, as a person, and does not necessary mean approval of his/her deeds. We accept him/her first and then help he/she to change for the better. Grace is God acceptance of us first and then enabling us to break free from the bondage of sins to live in freedom.

This concept is clearly seen in the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus accepted her first "Neither do I condemn thee" and also "Go and sin no more". The consequence of our sin is death and there is not more hope and no more desire to change. In fact, sin leads to more sin since there is no future. However, if someone can accept and believe for the better, then there arise a desire to break free.

So true acceptance is receiving a person and believing him/her for the better in his/her of sins. This applies to our 'enemies' - people who hurt us, who gossips and spread lies about us and who betray us. Could we ignore the hurts they caused us and accept them as a person ( very often, they are the very Christian brother and sister that you trusted in the first place!) and believing in them that they are and can be better. The hurts they caused us; they probably think that they are doing the right thing and in the name of God. Could we believe that they are deceived by the devils or believed in the wrong rumor about us, had a great misunderstanding. Could we start treating them not as enemy but as brothers in Christ. Not to shunt them but to be able to face up to them with no anger and bitterness.
Can we trust God to settle the misunderstanding, wrongly accusations and attacks and give us the justice? Could we understand that hurting people hurts people? Insecured people manipulate, lies, blame and attack to try to control things. Can we see the stress and struggles inside? May God gives us the grace to accept them.

Acceptance does not mean approval or endorsement of the evil deeds. At the appropriate time and in the right way, we must, or may God send others to tell them, show them that their deeds are evil and that they may repent. However, such will not come, until we can gain their confidence that we accept and believe that they are and can be a better person. How can they hear us if they don't believe we love them and their best interest in mind?
People may think they are saved or may be actually saved, but they lack the growing up phase of maturity into the true image of Christ.

Change begins with Acceptance - By Father and Us (His Channels)
So, if we want another person to change, we must first learn to accept them first, gain their trust, and then we may earn the right to trule communicate the truth to them, and then they may change. The best acceptance is the acceptance by Jesus Christ who gave His life for us. May we be filled with such confidence of acceptance by our Heavenly Father than we may be channel to bring His acceptance through us to help others change for the better. This may be the best present you can give to someone in this Christmas seasons.

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