A Prayer for Accepting One Another As Christ Accepts Us

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Rom. 15:7
     Dear Lord Jesus, it’s both settling and centering to begin this day with the full assurance of your acceptance. You know everything about me, and still I’m fully and eternally accepted by you. Accepted, not endured; welcomed, not tolerated; wanted, not “just let in”.
     You know my failures, fickleness, foolishness, faithlessness, and yet you totally accept me. When I confess my sins, I don’t inform you of anything you don’t already know. In fact, I’m probably aware of only 3 or 4 percent of my actual sins. It’s absolutely overwhelming to be this known and this wanted and loved by you.
     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 been up in the tree with Zacheus and down in the depths with Peter, and you have made me yours.
     But here comes the difficult part for me, Lord Jesus. As you’ve accepted me, you’re calling me to accept others. I need all the grace you promise to love like that; for there are a lot of my brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I disagree about many things, including theology, politics, dress, issues of Christian liberty, how to spend money, worship styles, what to do on Sunday, educating children, drinking alcohol, entertainment . . . and that’s just for starters.
     Lord Jesus, I need a bigger gospel heart and more gospel wisdom if I’m going to make headway in this calling. Please help me show kindness without compromising my convictions. Please teach me the difference between essential and nonessential matters. Please show me the difference between acceptance and acquiescence. 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.
     Let me remember that your promise to bring to completion the good work you began in me also applies to each of your children. Burn the conviction indelibly into my heart: it brings you praise when I work hard at accepting others as you accept me. So very Amen I pray, in your matchless and merciful name.
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