I’ve been mulling over this verse lately, namely because I have to write a devotion on it for my church next week. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to say yet, but I do know this: It’s a tall order.
It sounds lovely when you first read it, doesn’t it? “Accept others as Christ accepts you.” In fact, it sounds deceptively simple. But think about this verse as it applies to your real, everyday life for a moment.
Jesus accepts us exactly as we are – flaws, sins, foibles, missteps, beauty, selflessness, selfishness – the whole beautiful but frankly pretty messy package. This means we are asked to do the same with every single person who crosses our path — from our closest loved ones to the most irritating coworker to the person whose lifestyle and choices are vastly different from ours.
Accept them, Paul tells us (and the Romans).
Not, “Ask that they confess their wrongdoings first and then accept them.”
Not, “Accept them on certain conditions.”
Not “Accept them if they change this, this, and this.”
But simply, “Accept them. Period.” The whole package deal. Exactly as they are right this very second.
Like I said, a tall order.
But here’s the good news: we have a good role model. In fact, we have the very best role model ever in Jesus. We can’t help but feel the deepest gratitude when we reflect on how much Jesus loves us, how he accepts us, in spite of our worst flaws. And thus, we carry that gratitude over toward others. Because of the way Jesus accepts us, we can then accept others, flaws and all, exactly the way they are, right this very minute.
Grace and peace for your weekend, friends.