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February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

"Acceptance Is Not Approval"

“The Father gives me the people who are mine.  Every one of them will come to me and I will always accept them.”  Luke 6: 37 NCA

Followers of Jesus are to be the most accepting people in the world.  The reason is quite simple:  Jesus accepted you.  He doesn’t love you because of who you are or what you’ve done, but because of who He is. That's how He always does it.

Time and time again, the Bible tells us that we are treated much better than we deserve.  Jesus made us acceptable to God, not what we’ve done.  How does He make you acceptable?  It’s not that you’ve changed or got any better.  It’s not that you never sinned.  It’s by His grace alone.

That’s the grace God wants you to show to other people through your acceptance.  The problem is most of us don’t know the difference between acceptance and approval.  They are very, very different.  Jesus accepts you completely, but that doesn’t mean He always approves of everything you do.

Probably the clearest illustration of that is when the religious leaders brought an adulterous woman to Jesus to trap Him.  They thought they finally had Him between a rock and a hard place.  Will He condemn her or let her off the hook?

Instead, He offers them the rock, “Anybody who has never sinned, gets to throw the first stone.”  When He looked up everyone had disappeared.  What did He do?  He gave acceptance, not approval.

He wasn’t saying what she did was right but that He would accept her as she was.  By doing that He restored her dignity and was able to send her on her way with the challenge, “Go and sin no more.”

Acceptance is a mark of love.  Not sure about that?  Check out Romans 15: 7, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.”

How do you accept people?  One of the ways you do it is by listening to them.  Love pays attention.  It listens to the fears and the doubts of others and treats them with respect.  Love accepts others the way Jesus accepts you.

Peace in the Lord,

Pastor Don