Matthew 10:40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
Romans 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
Luke 6:42 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
The Definition of Accept
The Greek word translated as accept is Proslambanó, it is a verb. It means to welcome, I take to myself, to receive, with strong personal interest.
Proslambanó means receiving others with kindness and welcoming them into genuine friendship and family. True acceptance is demonstrated by hospitality and gives a strong sense of belonging. Acceptance calls those who are divided into reconciliation.
We are all different, we come from a variety of backgrounds and experience yet we are all openly accepted by God into His family. If we don’t handle our differences well, they can easily divide us. You don’t get to choose your family!
God calls us to live, worship and work together. He calls us to love each other while operating in unity as part of His family. He calls us to accept one another as He has accepted us. To accept one another is to avoid judging others based on our own personal preferences (Rom 14:1). It is to welcome others positively, joyfully and kindly. We need to remember that transforming someone’s life is the Holy Spirit’s job, not yours or mine.
Romans 15:1-7 gives a good reference for acceptance and Paul’s teaching around it.
Romans 15:1-7 We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. 2 We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. 3 For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.”[a] 4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
5 May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. 6 Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.
In context Romans 15 is set in a time when there was strong division in the christian church of Rome. The Jewish believers had previously been expelled from Rome and were beginning to return. There was fracture and division between the Jewish and Gentile Christians who Paul is addressing this letter to. Paul himself knew personally the effects and cost of division and not accepting one another (Rom 15:31).
In Romans 15:1 the strong are called to bear with the weak and not to please themselves.
In verse 4 they are reminded of the hope in scripture motivates us to accept one another.
Verses 5&6 encouraged the Christians to live together in harmony following the example of Jesus allowing them to praise God with one voice.
Romans 15:7 tells us to accept others as Christ has accepted us and that accepting one another brings glory to God.
How we treat one another as Christians tells the world what God is really like.
The roman church were called to accept one another in obedience as evidence of their transformed lives as Christ followers. Accepting one another as Christ accepted us is as counter cultural in our day just as much as it was 2000 years ago.
The opposite of acceptance is ‘rejection’.
- Dismissing or refusing a person, proposal or idea.
- Spurning another.
- Division, cliques, disagreement and dissent.
- Hostility, criticism and judgement based on our own personal preferences.
The counterfeit of acceptance is ‘insincerity’.
- Conditional acceptance.
- Trying to fix each other.
- Pleasing self and avoiding those who are struggling.
- Surface level relationships.