Acceptance Without Approval

The tree was decorated! It only needed the finishing piece; the cherry on top of the ice-cream sundae; the icing on the cake. It needed the all important, most important, tree topper. In our case, it needed “the star”. My husband did the honors. It was crooked! He tried several times, with my direction, to straiten it, but to no avail. “Just leave it,” I said, “I kind of like it.” “It reminds me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.”

There was a time in my life that I would have never submitted to the will of the Christmas tree topper. I would have worked myself to the point of frustration to make sure that I got exactly what I wanted-a perfect Christmas tree.

We get frustrated when things don’t go our way. Don’t we? We get angry when others don’t do what we tell them to do, when we tell them to do it and how we tell them to do it. We want people to be who we want them to be and when they aren’t we become annoyed with them. What is the root cause of all of these negative emotions and reactions? We can’t control one another. We can’t change one another. And we want what we can’t have. James 4:1-2 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

We try to change one another’s political views because we are convinced that our views are correct. We try to change our spouse because they are not like someone else’s spouse. We try to change our children because they are not like us. We try to change one another’s driving by laying on the horn, yelling out the window and making sure they know they are number one. We want to change everyone’s way of doing, thinking and saying!

We go through life frustrated, angry and annoyed because we are trying to make everything and everyone the way we think it or they should be. We are discontented, dissatisfied and disappointed because we are disillusioned. The illusion is that we can control or change people. The reality is that only God can change people. Ezekiel 36:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

How would our lives be different if we decided to accept everyone the way they are? How would our world be different? What if instead of arguing about our differences we focused on what we have in common? What if instead of yelling at each other we prayed for one another and left any changing that needed to be done to God? What if their was more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control? Would their be less: hate, anguish, tension, intolerance, mercilessness, viciousness, abrasiveness and unconstraint? What a wonderful world it would be! Is this possible?

It is possible in our own lives; in our own little world. We can make a decision today to accept all people for who they are and stop trying to control or change them. We may not approve of everyone’s life style, way of thinking, voting or driving. And that’s ok! We can agree to disagree agreeably. We don’t have to give our stamp of approval on all things but we can accept one another and love one another. Isn’t that what God does with us?

God doesn’t approve of all that we say, think or do but He accepts us and loves us regardless and He expects us to do the same. Romans 14:1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Why did I submit to leaving the Christmas tree topper crooked? Why do I like it that way? Because it reminds me! It reminds me that I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. It reminds me that God accepts me and loves me and that He expects me to do the same. He expects us all to do the same!

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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