“Therefore, accept each other in the same way that Christ accepted you. He did this to bring glory to God” (Romans 15:7 GWT).
Most of us spend our entire lives trying to earn acceptance. We want to earn it from our parents, peers, partners in life, from people we respect, maybe even from people we envy. The drive to be accepted is a deep drive that can influence the kind of clothes you wear, the kind of car you drive, the kind of house you buy, even the career you choose.
Remember as a kid you wanted so badly to be in the in-crowd that someone would say to you, “I dare you to do this,” and they’d suggest something that was either stupid, or that put your personal safety at risk. But, you did it anyway because your desire to be accepted overruled the desire for safety.
We do it because we love the feeling of “I’m OK, I’m accepted; somebody accepts me.” When you’re accepted, it does tremendous things for your self esteem. The truth is Jesus accepts you and that acceptance is not based on your performance. In fact, you may have received Christ and accepted Jesus into your life, but do you realize that you’re able to do that because Jesus accepted you? You don’t have to earn his acceptance; you don’t have to prove yourself to him.
We need to stop thinking, “I’ve got an unpleaseable God up there and I’ve got to be a good boy, or good girl, to be accepted.” God, through Jesus Christ, has already accepted you. That’s the good news!
The Bible teaches, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalms 27:10 NIV). Now, the fact is, some of you had an unpleaseable parent. No matter what you did, it wasn’t good enough. For instance, if you got B’s on your report card, you had a parent who wanted A’s. If you got lots of A’s, that parent wanted straight A’s. No matter what you did, you couldn’t find acceptance.
The tragedy is that some of you even today are still trying to prove yourself to an unpleaseable parent. You’re still trying to earn that acceptance. I want to say two things to you:
1. In all likelihood, you’re not going to get it. If you haven’t gotten it by now, then you’re not likely to ever get it—and that is your parent’s problem, not yours.
2. You don’t need that acceptance to please God. You’ve been accepted by God. There are nearly 6 billion people on the planet, if some of them don’t like you, who cares? You don’t need it. You have been accepted by God!