7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7, New International Version
The background as to why Paul was telling the Christians in Rome to be more accepting of each other was because there were racial tensions and class distinctions between the Jewish believers and Gentile believers. His intention was to bring them together, to heal their wounds and ultimately to save the church from self-destruction.
Just as Christ accepts us, we are to accept one another.
The Greek word for “accept” is proslambanō which means “to take as one’s companion, to take into friendship” (Strong’s G4355). That being said, acceptance is both a choice and a commitment. Jesus chose you—not because you were perfect or faithful, but because He is perfect and faithful! In choosing you, our Lord is committed to a relationship of friendship and partnership to help you discover your identity and purpose.
We are to reflect Jesus in the way we relate to each other and to people around us. Paul told the believers to base their friendship with each other on their friendship with Jesus. This is because acceptance is never built on how the other person behaves but on who you truly believe in. It is only when you know how accepted you are in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6), then you will feel safe enough to accept others.
The essence of true acceptance is not about how much we agree, but how much we care for each other. It doesn’t mean our differences don’t matter. But if we keep making our differences the only thing we ever talk about, it will tear any relationship apart. We need to rise above our differences to find common ground. This was what Jesus did with us. He found us as sinners and transformed us into saints. We were so unlike Him, but He made us become like Him.
Acceptance is choosing to invest ourselves in relationships and community, reaching out to old friends and making new friends as you do. It is not waiting for someone to be your friend but you becoming a friend to someone.
Is accepting others easy or difficult for me? Why?
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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