“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” – Rom. 15:7
Well, not really. “Acceptance” is too much of a buzzword in our culture today to let that pass without thought. It’s socially acceptable to “accept” anyone and everyone, so we in the church, we who are called to be counter cultural, begin looking for the limits of this acceptance. We try to redefine acceptance. We try to explain away acceptance. Why? Because we want to be faithful to God’s word, to help people come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and to avoid the sin of allowing sinfulness to go unaddressed.
So where are the limits? Looking back at Paul’s teaching in Romans 15, the limits seem to be… none. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” Don’t bear with the weak to please yourself, but rather to please them, to build them up. We begin relationships by building “the other” up, by pleasing them, by bearing with their weakness. This, he says in v.5, takes endurance and encouragement.
Now being judgy, condemning the behavior or choices of another, doesn’t take any endurance or encouragement – we’re happy to do that for it’s own sake. And it surely wasn’t Christ’s attitude toward us. So let’s quit the judging, the condemnation, and the correction and spend more time accepting others. If I read my bible correctly, I can trust God to judge, to convict, and to bring repentance and reconciliation and don’t have to do it for Him.