Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yearning for More Than Conditional Acceptance

Have you ever thought about how many interpersonal relationships are conditional? Most likely you have felt its weight, we all have at some time or another. Most relationships are, to greater or lesser degrees. Whether friends, family, society, church, spouses, school, or social groups - all have lists of requirements in order for us to be acceptable.
Our interactions in life are based on performance wherever we go. If someone does not meet our needs, our emotional demands, if they make mistakes, we do not accept them. We write them off in our minds or reject them. How many churches are reduced to enmity, how many groups at each others throats? How many schoolyards and workplaces are full of animosity? You must meet the criteria, is the message we receive.
Oftentimes, it is the more subtle forms that hurt us the most. The looks, the gossip, the snubs. The remarks directed at us under the breath, or just within earshot for us to hear. Rejection is a very powerful force that sends the message that you are not OK.
God’s love breaks though the superficial and meets our tremendous need to be loved. We do not have to play games to be accepted by God. We do not have to go through life struggling with self hatred, or shame for the very personalities that make us different. Before Him we are bare to the core. He sees and knows all. He knows our secret faults, knows our secret pain.
We talk a great deal about love. From songs to gurus it is a theme. Most of the time this is superficial sentimentality, a vague fuzzy emotion, that is highly conditional. It is easy to "feel nice about" those we find acceptable. Who will love us in the dark, when we are alone? When we hate ourselves, when we are rejected? Who will love us when we fall flat on our face and fail? Until we are confronted with sacrificial love, we can not truly know.
We have a sin problem, there is no getting around that. It is this very reality where God reveals the depths of His love for us. He gave His very Son for us. Christ suffered for us. In this living truth we are free to dance in the joy of being accepted by the very One who created us.
It is an ecstatic joy when you fully see God’s radical love in Christ. He who was spat on, rejected, mocked, and made fun of even as He died for what separates us from Him, loves us inexpressibly. We can count on this, no matter how much we feel hurt by others. His loves abides with us daily, it is not fickle like that we encounter in our daily lives.
In a world of emotional games, a world of longing hopes unfulfilled, the truth of the words of Scripture below are a shining light. It is in Jesus that we are secure and loved:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life". John, 3:16.

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