In most A-Z lists of Christianity you'll find that 'J' is for Jesus, 'F' is for faith, 'S' is for sin or salvation and 'A' for atonement.
What I want to do in this series is to go a little deeper and write about some topics that don't always get top billing but are still important.
|Copyright Oxford Dictionary|
The word 'accept' is commonly used in the Church today in reference to a person being saved.
eg, Johnny just accepted Christ. By automatic reply, Jesus accepts us.
That all seems pretty straightforward.
But then it gets a bit tricky. Once Johnny becomes a Christian the Bible then tells him that we have to accept one another.
Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7
Paul is writing to the Church in Rome so in this verse we are being challenged to accept other Christians, or using one of the Oxford dictionary definitions, we are to welcome other Christians.
That's not hard or is it?
- What about the young people behind you in church who constantly talk to each other during the service. (Common thought is 'How disrespectful')
- What about the Christian neighbour who plays his loud music day and night. (Common thought is 'You call that Christian music!')
- What about the gay couple who come to church. (Common thought is 'God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.')
- What about the Christian from that 'other' denomination. (Common thought is 'Why don't they drink coffee?')
- And what about the Christian who doesn't go to church. (Common thought is 'How can you call yourself a Christian and not go to church?')
So how do we accept and welcome Christians who are different to us?
Maybe the answer is as simple as getting to know them. It's human nature to be drawn to like-minded people but for the good of the Church and our own spiritual lives we need to break down the barriers.
We could invite the gay couple over for dinner or go to one of the services at the church where they don't drink coffee.
When we make the move to accept others we often find that we have more in common than we thought. After all, we're all Christians and Jesus is always a good starting point.
If you have any suggestions about how we can learn to accept and welcome others please feel free to add it in the comments section.