~~ by tkbrown
10 September 2020 — Acceptance seems to be shunned in this day and time. The “going thing” seems to be disagreement, protests, and persecution. There seems to be a tendency to equate acceptance with agreement. This perception is not reality based. Acceptance does not necessarily mean agreement.
The news today is filled with disagreement. From domestic disputes to world organizations, disagreement seems to be the norm. While some disagreement is a part of everyday life, and while harmful values are never to be condoned, we–as Christians–are to accept the right of others to be different from us and to believe differently from us. During His life here on earth, Jesus encountered many who were different from Him, but He never ridiculed, persecuted, or punished anyone for being on a different path. He did express rage toward the moneychangers and the merchants in the temple because they were defiling His Father’s house. He did not disagree with “what” they were doing. He disagreed with “where” they were engaging that activity (John 2:13-16 — NKJV).
When He met the Samaritan woman at the well, He discussed aspects of her life–apparently in depth–but He never once ridiculed or persecuted her because of who she was. If He had gone off on a tangent, ranting, raving, and destroying her property, would He have made a positive impression upon her? Would He have made a positive impression upon any of her acquaintances whom she brought back to the well to meet Him? Through the entire event, no one fought anyone to get a point across. Jesus impressed the Samaritan woman and her acquaintances with His acceptance of who they were, not with anger and malice toward them. John 4:39 says, “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.'” (NKJV) Jesus impressed upon her that He did not agree with or condone her way of life, but He never harmed her in any way.
My mother frequently referenced the old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” — Anonymous. She was right! That is what Jesus was impressing upon the multitudes as He delivered the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “‘Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets,'” (Matthew 7:12 — NKJV). During His time here on earth, Jesus had many differences of opinion and fact with others, but He never once addressed the issue in a harmful, ridiculing, or disrespectful manner. His responses were always short, kind, and to the point.
In today’s world, there are many different cultures–much the same as the world was in Jesus’ time. As Christians, what is the best way to lead someone to Christ: By lashing out, ranting, and raving at the difference with which we do not agree, or by quietly discussing the difference in what we believe and what the other person(s) believe? Christianity is a program of attraction, not of repulsion. Violence, ranting, and raving does not attract those who love God. We, as Christians, are instructed never to treat someone differently than we would want to be treated if the situation was reversed (John 2:13-16 — NKJV). We are also instructed to love our enemies. Again, in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,'” (Matthew 5:44 — NKJV). The news today is filled with difference being addressed in many ways. The question we, as Christians, hold in our heart is: How would I want someone else to deal with me in this same situation? Food for thought in today’s world.
Have a Blessed Day!
Scripture References are from the Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV).