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." (John 6:37 NCV)
Followers of Jesus ought to be the most accepting people in the world. John 6:37 says, "The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them" (NCV).
You may have accepted Christ into your life, but do you understand that he's accepted you? He doesn't love you because of who you are or what you've done but because of who he is.
Titus 3:7 says, "Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and he gave us the hope of eternal life" (CEV). How does he make you acceptable? It's not that you changed or got any better. It's not that you never sin. It's by his grace alone.
God wants you to show grace and acceptance to other people, but the problem is most people don't know the difference between acceptance and approval. They are very, very different. Jesus Christ accepts you completely, but that doesn't mean he approves of everything you do.
One day Jesus was walking down the street when some religious leaders who were trying to trap him brought a woman to him who had been caught in adultery. Jesus looked at all of the accusers and said, "Anybody who has never sinned, you get to throw the first stone." And of course they all walked away.
What did Jesus do? He gave acceptance, not approval. He didn't approve of what she had done, but he accepted the woman and restored her dignity.
That's what you need to do with the people around you. You don't have to go around approving of everything everybody does. But you do have to accept them, because that is a mark of love.
The Bible says in Romans 15:7, "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you" (NIV).
How do you do that? One of the ways you can show acceptance to other people is to listen to them. Love pays attention. Love listens to the fears and the doubts of others and treats them with respect. Love accepts others the way Jesus accepts you.
Talk It Over
- How does understanding God has accepted you change the way you view others and the choices they make?
- What is it about your past or personality that keeps you from fully embracing God's acceptance?
- How can you show love to others of whom you do not approve?