Accept One Another
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)
On surface level, this verse seems straightforward. Accept one another as Christ accepted you. But what is it supposed to mean? Paul wrote this to the church of Rome, which at the time was comprised of both Hebraic Jews, Hellenistic Jews and even some Gentiles. There was a huge cultural rift between the groups.
But just what are we to accept? Well let's take a look at the example given to us – “as Christ accepted you”. We are to use Christ's acceptance as a standard. The thing is Christ accepted us wholesale, flaws and all. He accepted our quirks and faults not because he wanted broken merchandise at the price of his life and blood, but because he saw beyond that brokenness to the potential within us.
It can often be difficult to accept the flaws of others. Some people just peeve us more than other people. It's very human. But we are, as Christians, to surpass the logic and ideologies of the world. We are to go beyond just what our instincts tell us to do and be better because we are privy to the sacrifice Christ made for us.
Christ's love compels us to love others and accept them, regardless of how we might otherwise feel about them. As the Bible says, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He didn't wait for us to repent or wait for us to love him or wait for some condition to be fulfilled. Having only faith, hope and love, God let His one and only Son be hung on the cross so that we could be redeemed.
Oftentimes, the difficulty in accepting others also comes in the form of accepting ourselves and coming to terms with the fact that Christ died for us. Christ's love can't compel us if we don't accept the reality of his love and understand its measure. We lack confidence in the idea that we can change or we are worthy of his love and we can extrapolate that to others as well.
I know that I can find myself lacking confidence in why God would bother, or even in the idea that Christ accepts me flaws and all. But I think we owe to the person who bought us to understand that he didn't see us as buying waste. He paid the ultimate price believing that we would rise to our potential. If you bought something with your life savings, you would believe and expect the best from it and if it underperformed, you would be disappointed especially if you knew that it could do better.
In the same way, God believes and expects the best of us. In the same vein, we should believe and expect the best of others. It may not be easy, but it's something that we as Christians have to strive for, because if we just wait for someone else to accept others for us, there's a good chance that the other person will wither away first.
Daniel is currently and forevermore will be a student and a learner, trying to delve into the deep conundrums of life and seeing where the path leads. He enjoys linking different things in life back to God through strange and seemingly random connections.