Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 15:7
Allow me to ask you a question: What would change in the most important relationships of your life, if you consistently accepted people just as they are?
There are two parts to accepting one another:
To Accept You Means That I Will Stop Trying to Change You
To Accept You Means That I Will Start to Cherish You
So much of the relational difficulties in life come down to pride, and maybe you didn’t recognize it as pride, but look closely and see if you can recognize pride in this statement: The parts of you that aren’t like ME are getting on MY nerves, so I need you to be more like ME.
And it’s ugly.
And it’s damaging to relationships.
This is not to say that we don’t encourage each other to grow and mature and develop, but it IS to say, the constant pursuit to change someone and not to cherish them, breaks love down, rather than building love up between people.
The truth about relationships is, I can fight the differences between me and others, I can resent the differences, but how much better for LOVE, if I cherish others and the differences that we bring to our relationship.
Every woman wants to be cherished.
Every man wants to be cherished.
Every child wants to be cherished.
Every friend wants to be cherished.
One of the coolest parts of the Bible is in Genesis 2, where man and woman were first created and we read this:
“The man and woman were both naked and felt no shame.” Genesis 2:25
Their physical nakedness was a metaphor for spiritual and emotional nakedness.
Adam and Eve felt no need to pretend, no need to hide, no need to fear that they wouldn’t be accepted by the other.
In the safety of that relationship, Adam and Eve felt accepted by one another and by God. Naked and no shame.
Try it. Today, choose to cherish someone you love rather than criticizing or suggesting a change.
Brad Johnson is Pastor of California Community Church in Agoura Hills, CA