Lately, I have found myself thinking quite a lot on the subject of acceptance, especially as it relates to a friend of mine who appears to accept me totally and completely. He likes me just the way I am, accepting the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly he knows about me. This friend of mine even refers to me as, "Brother Bob." I am so blessed by this kind of acceptance!
I believe everyone of us has a great need for acceptance. We all long for and look for acceptance from our fellow students at school, our co-workers on the job, our spouse and the kids at home, our extended family, and our friends in the community. If we really take the time to look, we can see the need for acceptance is all around us. People crave acceptance, and there are those who will literally do almost anything to gain acceptance.
I also believe that most of us want to be more accepting of other people, to take them at face value, and to treat them and trust them with a higher measure of acceptance. Here is the challenge though–many times we find it's much easier to be critical rather than accepting of others. In fact, sad to say, it is often the people closest to us that we are the most critical of. Where is the acceptance?
I have found that if we are to accept others, we must have grace. Grace is the ability to put up with people when they are not exactly what we want them to be or when they are not meeting our needs or expectations in some way. We extend grace towards another when we compassionately overlook their faults, failures, and imperfections. Hmmm, give people grace ... what a concept! I know I can do this. How about you? It sounds so simple.
Imagine each of us having a "clean slate" everyday with each person we come into contact with. This is only possible as we truly forgive others for the wrongs they have done to us, and accommodate people in their differences, refusing to let those differences keep you from genuinely accepting others for who they are, and above all, remembering that we are all human, and we all do human things (like make mistakes). I like to think of grace as treating others the way I want to be treated. I like to be accepted, so I will do my very best to accept others.
Imagine more grace and acceptance on this planet. Imagine more grace and acceptance in your community. Imagine more grace and acceptance in your home. Imagine more grace and acceptance in your business or at the office or your work place. Acceptance and grace–it's something that we all could use a little more of, don't you think?