Many of us struggle with being accepted and welcomed into a group or a family of some sort. In the world’s system there are 3 B’s of acceptance: 1) Behave, 2) Believe, 3) Belong.
The first B of acceptance is having to behave like others. You have to look like them, talk like them, act like them, dress like them. Think about the Pharisees of the Bible, they were all about conforming to their ways. Tithing your ten percent was taken extremely serious by them, even to the point of counting out their kitchen herbs (Luke 11:42). Perfection mattered to them. And what about gangs — supposedly the “rebellious” ones of rules and regulations. Yet some of their initiations require getting “beat down,” “jacked in,” or “blood in” to be able to join the rest of the thugs. You’ve got to conform to their standards. Most groups insist on specifications as to how you’re supposed to behave to be affiliated as a member.
The second B of acceptance is you have to believe just like whatever group you’re hoping to be accepted in. The Pharisees had particular beliefs and customs you had to obey. Gangs and other “militant” organizations demand that you see politics, social standards, or racial views the same as them or else something bad may happen to you or your family. High school also has their share of cliques surrounding certain beliefs — the jocks, the nerds, the druggies, the preppies, and so on. All of which are trying to conform you to their own belief system.
Finally the third B of worldly acceptance is once you have adapted your beliefs and your behaviors to them, you can then belong to the group. However, your acceptance is based on whether you can fulfill these requirements or not. Some of these are spoken and some are not. They may just expect you to figure them out.
And once you comply with all of the qualifications then you’ll get all the love, acceptance and favor you think you’ll ever need. You’ll now be officially welcomed as a part of this organization, club, association, etc. And isn’t that what everyone wants? To be included? Accepted? Loved?
Luckily for us God’s ways are not the same as the world’s. In fact, they’re usually the opposite. He has His own system of acceptance.
God’s 3 B’s of Acceptance:
- You belong. God receives you just as you are, with mistakes, scars, baggage, whatever. It doesn’t matter. You are welcomed to be with Him. Feeling loved and accepted just as you are, validates your personhood, your identity. His love causes hope, faith, and trust to arise in you.
- You start to believe in ways you never have before. Feeling loved changes your outlook on life. You embrace truths of God’s word that express love and freedom.
- You begin to behave differently New truths you’ve embraced bring new behavior. You’ve changed from the inside out and you no longer want to live in the old ways.
God’s model of acceptance is the world’s in reverse. He wants you to know today that, first of all, you belong to Him. That’s the first step. He understands that the change of heart and actions will come later.
You are His creation. You are wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). And He not only loves you, He likes you too. You are His child and are accepted just the way you are (I Jn. 3:1; Eph.1:11,12).