Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Rom. 15:7
Dear Lord Jesus, to begin this day with the assurance of your acceptance brings great peace and joy to my heart. You know everything about me, and yet you gladly and fully accept me. You know my failures, fickleness, and faithlessness, and still you welcome me into fellowship with you today. How I praise you for your lavish, constant and transforming love.
I’m the immature younger brother you welcomed home. I’m the self-righteous elder brother you constantly pursue. I’m the one lying at your feet others would stone, but you have loved. I’ve doubted with Thomas and run away with Jonah. I’ve been angry like Job and sulked like Jeremiah. I’ve been up in the tree with Zacchaeus and down in the depths with Peter, and you have always made me feel welcome and wanted.
Jesus, I know such mercy and grace must not stop with me. As you accept me, you’re calling me to accept others. That is so hard to do, Lord. You must give me both the will and the strength. For there are many believers and non-believers whom I silently judge and regularly avoid. There are those with whom I disagree about many things—including theology, politics, Christian liberty and worship styles. There are some relationships that are bruised and fractured, that I’d just rather not mess with. There are some personalities that raise my dander, “push my buttons” and simply annoy me. I’m convicted as I offer my prayer. Have mercy on me, the sinner.
Jesus, I need a bigger gospel heart. Please free me from the limitations of my perspective, the prejudices of my heritage, and the insecurities of my comfort zone. Please free me from insincere niceness and the need to be right. Please teach me the difference between essential and nonessential matters. Please help me put down the judge’s gavel and take up the servant’s towel.
Let me remember that your promise to finish the good work you began in me applies to each of your children as well. Burn this conviction indelibly into my heart: it brings great praise to God when I work hard at accepting others as you accept me. So very Amen I pray, in your matchless and merciful name. Amen.