Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
There are words that every woman longs to hear. They are the words that melt her heart and give her a sense of security and belonging. They are the words: “I Tolerate You”. (Insert record scratch here) Wait a minute, I mean “I Love You.” Those words are the bedrock of a marriage relationship. They are the foundation of a parent-child relationship. These words communicate the special place that you have in my heart. But what if those words aren’t lived out in action? What happens if what you truly communicate is, “I Tolerate You?”
There was so much to write about today in Romans 15, but when I saw verse 7, it begged to be written on as a follow up to yesterday’s blog. Yesterday was all about the need to focus on our relationship with God rather than judging someone else. And while that is important, I don’t think it goes far enough to just “not judge.” We are called to more than “not sinning,” we are called to “walk in righteousness.” Being a Christian should be less about what we shouldn’t do and more about what we should do. In other words, let’s focus more on activating the positive than suppressing the negative.
Not judging someone is simply a first step. Paul writes in Romans 15:7 that we should Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. This word “accept” is the greek word, well… it’s a really long greek word. And it means a lot more than accept. When I think of the word “accept” I think of tolerate. When I say that I choose to accept those people who I disagree with, aren’t I really saying that I will tolerate them? But this word “accept” in the context here would be more accurately translated as receive or welcome. It is taking someone in as a friend or a companion. It means to lead them by the hand and to take them into your home. It means to let them into your heart. This is starting to sound a lot like love!
Accepting one another goes several steps beyond not judging. It takes you to the place of embracing the person. Let me be clear: I didn’t say embrace beliefs or lifestyle; embrace the person. Embrace them for who they are. Embrace them where they are at. Get God’s heart for them and embrace them for how God sees them. Embrace them for all that He wants them to become. This is true acceptance. It is more than an invitation to a social club. It is more than toleration. It is love – and that love is the love of Christ.