Why is it that we worry so much about what others think? I know I’m one who probably cares less about what others think of me than most people do, but I still struggle with it at times. It seems like we spend a good portion of our lives just trying to be accepted by others.
We try so hard to earn acceptance from those we love and from people we respect and want to be like. So much so that, at times, we might actually try to be someone we’re not just to earn their approval—just to try and get them to accept us.
This desire to be accepted can be so powerful that it affects the kinds of clothes we wear, the kind of car we drive, the kind of house we buy, and even the careers we choose. We so badly want to be a part of the in-crowd (whatever that is) that we’ll sacrifice our own values and beliefs for it.
And the sad thing is: you would think our own desire to be accepted would cause us to be more accepting of others, but often times that isn’t the case. We too, can be part of the problem. But in Romans 15:7 Paul tells us: “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”
The truth is, Jesus accepts us just the way we are. It’s not based on performance, looks, or social status. We don’t have to earn His acceptance; we don’t have to prove ourselves to Him. His acceptance is unconditional and His desire is that we would learn to love and accept others in the same way.
Let me finish with some questions to challenge us: Are we trying to prove ourselves to someone? Are we attempting to earn their acceptance? If they aren’t willing to accept us for who we are, do we really need their acceptance? Are we accepting others for who they are or are we making others jump through hoops just to get our approval?
Lord, help us to remember that You created us and that You love us and accept us for who we are. Help us to accept ourselves as we are and not try to be something we are not for others. And help us learn to love and accept others in the same way that You have freely and completely loved and accepted us. We want to be an example of Your love and acceptance to the world. Help us, we pray.