Far too often, we settle for something far less than true acceptance. We settle for tolerating people, putting up with them, and staying a safe distance away so we’re not annoyed or hurt in any way. The word “accept” in this passage means to welcome, to receive without preconditions. That’s what we hope for—that’s what our hearts cry out for—but we can only give that kind of acceptance to the extent we’ve experienced the wonder of a perfectly loving, limitless God accepting us.
Actress Celeste Holm said, “We live by encouragement and die without it—slowly, sadly and angrily.” But when we get it and give it, we experience the richer, deeper connections than we ever imagined were possible.
On teams, in families, and among friends, it takes the courage of a lion to open our hearts and accept people for who they are.