Links Daily Devotional

Grace and Acceptance

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7, NIV)

I’ll tell you right now, there are people who don’t like me. It’s not because of how I dress, or what job I do, or my politics. It’s not because I like goulash or golf or even God. Honestly, it’s personal. There’s just something about the way I say and do things that bugs some people.

Maybe you’ve never thought of it this way before, but the same is true of you. You’ve been going around thinking, I don’t get it. There must be something about me they really don’t like. And you’re right!

My wife and I sat with a friendly couple the other day and discussed this openly. In small groups we attend (like Links Fellowships), there are people you like with ease and people who rub you the wrong way. You may even drive to such a gathering with this awkward prayer on your lips, “Lord, it would be a lot more relaxing for me tonight if So-and-so didn’t show up.” (Meanwhile, So-and-so is praying the same about you!)

But guess what? In God’s great economy of relationships, those who chafe us can deliver as much of Jesus to us as the easy ones do—sometimes more. Maybe we wouldn’t plan our next vacation with the tougher ones, but because God has given them a view of the world that is not the same as ours, we do well to follow Paul’s exhortation to the Romans: “Accept one another.”

Of course, it’s impossible to argue with Paul’s reasoning in this matter. We are to follow Christ’s lead. He accepted us. That should be all the push we need to accept others. Grace received, grace delivered.

We shouldn’t miss Paul’s second stated motivation, either. When we as brothers and sisters in Christ learn to accept and even appreciate one another for the people God has made us to be, we are actually praising God in doing so. We are saying to him, “I see it, Lord! I see the way you have made So-and-so to fit the very life you have called him to live. And what’s more, I hear it, Lord! So-and-so says things in a way I would never say them, which makes me think fresh thoughts about you.” Yes, God is praised when we glory in the work of his hands, especially the creation of those he loves and equips for his kingdom.

Jeff Hopper

August 30, 2013

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