Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Romans 15:7
The beloved Fred Rogers ended every episode of his children's television show by saying, "You've made this day a special day, by just being you. There's no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are." Without apology or hesitation, Fred made it his mission to let every child know that they were valuable and important simply because of who they were. He knew how much children needed to hear this message. He understood that children needed to know deep down that they were accepted just as they were. It's this philosophy that Fred Rogers operated under that makes him so endearing and beloved today. While it is absolutely imperative that children receive this message of love and approval, I'm convinced that adults need to hear and believe that message, too. As followers of Christ, Christians should be the people who provide this message of acceptance to everyone they come in contact with, beginning with the people we live life alongside, all the way to the strangers they see in the grocery store, the coffee shop, the airport, and everywhere else they go.
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul teaches us the importance of helping others know that they are accepted because of God. In chapter 15, Paul writes of his desire that followers of Jesus live in harmony with each other. When this happens, Paul declares that believers can praise God together. "Therefore," Paul writes, "accept each other just as Christ has accepted you" (verse 7). This sentence should make us stop in our tracks. We are to accept others, "just as Christ has accepted [us]." My question for you today is this: How has Christ accepted you? Let me interrupt your train of thought with the answer: indefinitely and unconditionally. Knowing this answer, how are we all to accept each other? The answer? Indefinitely and unconditionally. There is no exception. This includes our spouses, our family members, and friends.
Imagine what the world would look like if others walked around, knowing that they were accepted and deeply loved by God and by you? You have no idea how your love and acceptance will impact the people who are closest and dearest to you and the strangers you encounter who you will never see again. Will you take up the apostle Paul's mandate to accept each other as God has accepted you? Will you make it your mission to communicate the message to others that you like them just the way they are because they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God?
What can you do today to live in such a way that you show acceptance and the love of Christ to everyone around you, starting with your spouse, family members, friends, to your delivery driver or cashier? Take some time to journal today, thanking God for your spouse and your loved ones for exactly how He made them. Then, tell your spouse, family members, and loved ones at least one characteristic about themselves that makes them special. When you go out today, look your barista, waiter, or cashier in the eye, ask them how their day is going, and give them a generous tip. Show them by your words and actions that they are accepted, not because of what they can do for you, but because of who they are.
Read Romans 7:1-13 (NLT)
Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only while a person is living? For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
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