Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yearning for More Than Conditional Acceptance

Have you ever thought about how many relationships are conditional? We have all felt its weight at some point in our life. Whether friends, family, society, church, spouses, school, or social groups, there are lists of requirements in order for us to be acceptable.

Our interactions are based on performance wherever we go. If someone does not meet our needs, our emotional demands, or 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 other’s throats? How many schoolyards and workplaces are full of animosity? You must meet the criteria, is the message we receive.

Often, the more subtle forms 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 powerful force that sends the message you are not OK.

God’s love breaks through the superficial and meets our tremendous need for love. 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 personalities that make us different. Before Him we are bare to the core. He knows our secret faults and understands the pain no one else sees.

We talk a great deal about love. From songs to gurus it is a theme. Most of the time it 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 feel rejected? Who will love us when we fall flat on our face and fail? Until we receive sacrificial love, we are left with an emptiness inside.

There is no avoiding the fact that we have a sin problem. It is this dark reality where God shows the depths of His love. He gave His very Son for us. Christ suffered for our sin. The Lord of the Universe died to bring us to Himself. In this living truth we are free to dance in the joy of being accepted by the One who created us.

It is an ecstatic joy to receive 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 are hurt by others. His loves abides with us daily in power and mercy. God's acceptance is not fickle, nor does it change as the wind blows. We need not base our worth on others evaluations of us. 

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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