My Dad was in the military, so we moved around a lot when I was a kid. I learned how to make friends pretty easy. Of course, a lot of those friends were military kids too, so they were in the same boat. You make a friend and soon your Dad, or theirs, would get reassigned. I never got too close to anyone because I knew it wasn’t going to last. Between 9th and 10th grade, Dad retired and we moved to a small town in Missouri. There I found groups of kids that had known each other for several years some had known each other since kindergarten. It was quite a culture shock.
Not only did they know each other all their lives, but they had formed groups that were almost impossible to join. It went beyond the jocks and the music department, the theatre group and the farmers, the hippies and the rednecks. That was the type of groups I was used to seeing in San Antonio where I spent my freshman year. Those were groups that banded together with a common interest. Some of it was still there, but it wasn’t as well-defined. Groups were based on friendships in this little hick town and it took a long time be accepted. I just decided to try to be myself, mostly to be by myself. It was easier that way.
All my life I wanted to be accepted. I wasn’t an outcast but I wasn’t part of the “IN” crowd. I wasn’t even on the fringe. In high school everyone seemed to know who I was, but no one wanted to get to know me. Now, as an adult, I keep trying to be accepted by different groups of people but never really fit in.
A good example of not fitting in came in an email from a potential employer at a job that I felt I was born to do. It read, ”We have already engaged some other applicants that we feel would have been a better fit.” Once again, I don’t fit in. I seem to be the square peg and the world is a round hole.
No matter who you are, how old or young you are, well-educated or not, outgoing or shy, everyone is born with a need to be accepted. Children want to be accepted by their parents and are constantly saying, “Look what I can do,” to get their approval. As we get older we might tell ourselves and others that we don’t care what others think of us, but deep down we want to be accepted.
Jesus wanted to be accepted by all people, but he knew he wouldn’t be because most were so caught up in doing things their way and being a part of their “groups” that his simple message of love was rejected by those who thought they had it all together. Who would appreciate someone who accepts them without question more than those who have been rejected most of their lives? The simple, the sinners, the ones who were considered to be less than ideal citizens, were the ones who came to Jesus most readily. Why was that? It is the same today as it was then. It comes down to acceptance.
Jesus accepts you where you are. No matter who you are. It doesn’t matter to him what you’ve done or what you’re involved in now. He accepts us without conditions. His only request is that we believe in him because he believes in us. In fact, he believes in us so much that he gave his life for us. He suffered and died on the cross to pay for our sins. When he rose from the grave he had conquered death, hell and the grave. It was sin that caused death for man in the beginning and caused a separation between man and God. By believing in Jesus and accepting him as our savior and redeemer, we can overcome any sin, be forgiven for that sin, and spend eternity with him.
We all have sinned and we all have to make choices on a daily basis. Sometimes we don’t make the right choices and other people will condemn us for it, but Jesus loves us anyway. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect when we accept him as our savior. Jesus will forgive us if we ask him. He loves the murderer and thief as much as he loves Billy Graham. More importantly, he accepts us as we are.
If you’re waiting until you’re good enough for Jesus to accept you, your wait is over. You’ll never be any better in his eyes than you are right now.
Today is the day of decision. Acceptance from a loving God, or rejection from the world and an eternity without knowing or ever having experienced that love and acceptance. Accept Jesus. He has already accepted you just as you are.
© Simply Consider This, 2013.