How to Accept One Another

by Don McMinn

In our contentious times, battle lines are drawn based political philosophies, religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, financial status, age and sex. Answers to “what’s right” and “who’s best” dominate the topics of the day. We must hold our values dear and yet we must also love as Christ loved us.

Have we missed Christ’s admonition to “accept one another” so that prejudice is creeping into our lives? Jesus’ ministry is predicated upon accepting people, erasing artificial boundaries of culture and status and looking beyond people’s sin. After all, Christ accepts us while we are sinners, and His love for us continues unconditionally.

Being accepted is one of man’s most fundamental needs. It means we can try out ideas without being belittled. We may be corrected or shown to be wrong, but expressing ourselves is safe and no one will destroy us out of prejudice.

The grace of acceptance rests on two fundamental pillars:

Every human is the same in that, having been created in the image of God, we all have intrinsic worth and value.

Every human is unique in that God created each of us as one of a kind.

With these ideas in mind, we can consider some practical ways to accept others.  I call these “Statements of Acceptance.”

I will willingly receive you and love you because you are a human being.  This acknowledges the intrinsic value of who a person is apart from that they do.

  1. I will acknowledge, affirm and delight in the fact that you are unique. With this statement we agree that God has created all things well.
  2. I will willingly receive you and love you, even though you are different from me. This challenges us to view others outside of our limited lens of background, culture and experience.
  3. I will be particularly sensitive to accept you when you enter a new environment, such as a new school, church or work place.
  4. I will not neglect ministering the Lord’s 11th commandment to you… “love one another.” (John 13:34)  When we freely accept all people, favoritism gives way to unconditional love.
  5. Even as I get to know you on a deeper level, I will not stop accepting you. Unfortunately, as we get to know each other more, our flaws, inconsistencies, weaknesses and sin can become irritants that hamper our acceptance.
  6. I am going to accept you for who you are. I won’t always be trying to change you. This implies that we are trusting God for change while we concentrate our efforts on love and acceptance.

In these tumultuous times, let’s not miss our opportunities to accept people who have lost their jobs and/or homes, feel inadequate, appear and/or believe differently.  Let’s trade silence and prejudice for unconditional love.


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