Thursday, October 31, 2013

The "Good News" Mail

Most of the time, if it looks like junk mail, I toss it without looking at it. This afternoon, I received a piece of mail that looked a lot like junk mail, but I wasn't sure, so I opened it. This proclamation caught my eye:
It was scam mail, but we all had a good laugh when I said, "Oh, it's good news! I've been accepted!" What kind of accepted wasn't quite clear. "I can do something with this!" I laughed. Indeed, I've been thinking ever since about being accepted. 

I've been the new girl in school who didn't quite fit in. Being accepted, when it finally came, was a wonderful thing, but I still remember how not being accepted feels. Relationships and daily interactions are full of opportunities for us to accept or reject others. I'd like to think I'm always accepting of those who are different from me, but I'd just be fooling myself. Maybe you have a little trouble with that, too. 

In the spirit of "faith lived out loud", I did a search to see what the Bible says about "accepted". I found lots of verses, but one really hit home. "Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God." (Romans 15:7 NASB) That verse just stepped all over my toes!  Christ glorified God when He accepted us (in all our sinful badness) and we are to do the same for others. I had never considered that accepting those who are different, just like Christ accepted me, would glorify God, but it does.  We make God look good when we are kind and open-hearted to people who are different from us, whether because of skin color, socioeconomic class, or lifestyle choices.  We make Him look bad when we are not. 

Put that way, this whole accepting/rejecting business looks a little different, doesn't it? Who wants to make God look bad? Certainly not me. I'm pretty sure He's not happy with that!  It's a lot to consider, but I don't see any way around this fact: Jesus Christ died for while I was still a sinner, He accepted me at my worst, and He expects me to do the same for others. 

The next time we meet someone who is "different" let's remember "Good news! You've been accepted!" And so have they!