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Posts tagged "Acceptance"

Hopelessly Devoted: James Chapter One Verses Two Through Four

This morning’s devotion comes from Rev. Paul Walker’s “Almost Daily Devotional,” delivered to inboxes…almost daily. Grateful for today’s message: “Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.” “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that […]

Christian Rejection in the Era of Facebook (From the Retro Perspective of Space: 1999)

For those of us who attend Lectionary-based churches, last week Mark’s Gospel reminded us of the time when Jesus faced a nasty rejection. He was in Nazareth, among his own, but his own received him not. They dismissed him by pointing to his apparently illegitimate birth, saying, “Is this not Mary’s son…?” (subtle but powerful slander […]

Stolen Righteousness in a Conditional World

This amazing find came by way of our friend Luke Mackinnon.

John Newton’s Falling into Grace is a profound paperback that packs a punch. The Episcopal priest expands upon the beauty and mystery of God’s grace, which “permeates our life right down to the smallest detail.” The act of letting go and allowing God’s life to fully take over our own feels a lot like falling, and our safety net is grace. This passage, in the chapter “Accepting Acceptance,” unpacks the narrative of Jacob stealing his brother’s birthright from their blind father Isaac and our difficulty in understanding grace as it is given to us despite our sinful nature.

Jacob steals a blessing by pretending to be someone he’s not. We are no different than Jacob. Our need for acceptance is so strong that we will do anything we need to do to feel accepted and blessed. This is because the world we live in doesn’t issue unconditional blessings. This is a problem because we all have a deep and divine need to feel accepted and blessed. Our world says that to be blessed we need to perform, look good, stay young, and be funny, clever, interesting, or rich. The world’s blessings is only awarded to people that earn it. The world doesn’t just dole out acceptance for free, and the default instinct of the human heart is to project this anti-grace nonsense onto God… We forget that grace doesn’t use sticks and carrots, and that it expects nothing from us at all. Grace just dies for our life.

Hopelessly Devoted: Romans Chapter Fifteen Verse Seven


Today’s entry in The Mockingbird Devotional comes to us from Dylan Potter:

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7, NIV)

The topic of Romans 14:1-15:13 is love and Christian liberty. Those who are “strong,” Paul says, tend to look down upon the “weak,” and their attitude is counterproductive to genuine Christian community. It’s certainly no less tempting now to gauge others: in the work place or in church Bible studies, the everyday appraisals are everywhere. In the previous chapter, Paul reminds the church in Rome not to allow their familiarity with grace to become a “stumbling block” to other believers— I shudder to think that he is writing about me.

Acceptance is a word we value in principle, but we’d rather not act on it. Acceptance simply goes too far for our tastes: we talk about “tolerance” or “hospitality,” but to think of acceptance in terms of Christ’s self-emptying kind of acceptance is veritably repulsive. At every corner we are inclined to say we have earned our stripes, that we have merited the privileges we so quickly withhold from those around us. A pastor once told me we only invite presumption and promote despair when we impose metrics upon others. He is correct because the word “accept” in 15:7 seems as if God is asking me to accept others as I’ve been accepted, and that acceptance isn’t one of my character traits.

The New Testament records numerous accounts when the early believers stumbled over this very same stone: Jew and Greek, male and female, slave and free. In fact this section is essentially Paul’s call for the Jewish believers in Rome to accept their Gentile counterparts, not as interlopers, but as brothers and sisters. The curious thing is that there is something about accepting the other that brings praise to God, perhaps because it best summarizes the condescension of Christ—to accept the other in Christ is to tell another person that we are just as shocked that God would welcome us. To view ourselves as Gentiles—this is still our stumbling stone! But most importantly, who knew that his resurrection was itself the confirmation that we are accepted by the Father every bit as much as he is accepted?