Hostility in our world over our differences is increasing.
If you ever think, “I don’t think anybody understands me. I don’t think anybody accepts me. I don’t think anybody appreciates me,” I’ll give you a warning and a promise.
The warning is: don’t go disrespecting and disassociating from other people so that you are not understanding, accepting and appreciating them. That behavior is what continues the devil’s vicious cycle of hate and hostility. If a person responds with hostility to those who are hostile, the Bible asks, “how can the love of God be in that person” (1 John 3:17)?
Sure, others don’t always understand, accept and appreciate you. That’s going to happen. But here’s the promise. In his grace and mercy, Jesus understands, accepts and appreciates you.
He values you. He loves you. He died for you. None of your personality quirks or self-pleasing acts of selfishness make him love you any less. He accepts them into his forgiveness, because he loves you.
So when others don’t love you, instead of getting all ugly on them, love and forgive them instead. Understand, accept and appreciate them with the same grace and mercy that Jesus has for you.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).
So start with God, praise him by accepting others because he made them and loves them. And God made you and loves you, too. He designed you and gave you a purpose—to praise him!
When you relate better to God, you will find that you relate better to other people.
And that will mean a better world for us all. It starts with you.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, in grace and mercy you have accepted me. In forgiveness, you have taken into yourself my sins so that I am truly acceptable. I believe this is true for me, and want to believe even more that it is true for others. Show this to them through me today. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Slow down, and pray the PRAY acronym.
- Praise (tell God what you appreciate about him, willing to accept you)
- Repent (tell God about your sins, trust in his promises of acceptance through forgiveness)
- Ask (go ahead, think big, or focus on a small detail, God wants to hear it all, request his help accepting others)
- Yield (talk to God about the next step after you say “Amen,” how you want faith to lead the way, how you are willing to be part of his answer and see it develop for your good, including the discomfort of growing to his glory)