20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Did you know that God accepts you for who you are? No matter what you have done, no matter where you have been, He will always take you back. Just like the prodigal son, He welcomes us back with arms open wide and hugs us, showering us with love like we have never known. Do you also know that God is no respecter of persons which means, we are equal to Him as humans? Yep, the pastor is loved just as much as the beggar. He loves the choir director as much as the drug addict. He gives as much attention to the garbage collector as the president. We all have a purpose to serve and God created us all to run towards our destinies. He is always there to guide and to correct even when we seem to be unaware of His presence. What is Jesus to you? Is He just a religious figure in your life? He is just something to believe in so that we shall not perish in Hell? What is He really to you at this moment in your life?
I know; tough questions to answer for some of us. I have different answers for every stage of my life. There once was a time when He was just someone I prayed to. He was someone I ran to when I was in trouble but never for the good things in my life. There have been times in my life when I have just taken Him for granted, not realizing the big role He should have been playing in my everyday life. I never thought I was important to God. I always thought He only loved me a little and I was not worthy of receiving any blessings in this life because I had partied and smoked for so many years. I am ever so thankful my veil has been removed and I can clearly see now just how much God loves me for who I am. I now have this desire to become more like Jesus so that I to can begin to accept people for who they are and to begin to have some reasoning to why they behave the way they do.
As Christians’ should we not be following after Jesus and how He treated people? I know it is very difficult to find acceptance for all the people in our lives. All of us have co-workers and family members who just drive us nuts. I am in a working environment where I have to deal with people from all walks of life and sometimes it is very hard to not get agitated by their behaviors at times. I have one in particular whom I just love to hate. We never see eye to eye and part of it is her recent disbelief in the things of God. I know she has walked a very hard road in her life and it has truly just sucked the life out of her. It pains me to see this once happy, carefree person burdened with pain and distaste for life which is very evident. I just want her to return to the place in her life where she once was, in love with Jesus, and nothing else mattered because she knew He was there for her. She stopped going to church because of what some others were speaking about her and her family and it has just been downhill from there. I know I cannot force her into a renewed relationship with Jesus, I can just pray.
So who in your life needs you to be more accepting of who they are and where they have come from? If God accepts us for who we are and where we are standing, then why are we not more accepting of others? I realize at this moment some of you have this pit in your stomach because God is speaking directly to you. I know each time when I have been too harsh to someone or too judgmental. Don’t get me wrong, it is in our nature, however, when we take on the nature of Christ, we need to begin to change our lifestyles to reflect Him. We can no longer just take Jesus as our Savior and go about our daily routines thinking we have nothing to change about ourselves. Becoming Christ like also is not something we can accomplish over night, it is a slow process of deciding on a moment by moment basis what our reactions are going to be to people in our lives. God calls us to a higher purpose and part of this is learning to accept people for who they are. Who knows where the drug addict started out from or why they act the way they do, perhaps they are trying to fill a void in their lives and because they have been shut down by one too many humans, drugs are the only answer. How about the pastor? Sure we see how God works in their lives every Sunday as they stand in the pulpit and tries to convey how God is speaking to them to congregation of people who come from all walks of life. Who are we to criticize His sermon if He is just listening to God and following His will? God does not command us to judge, but to love.
I pray I have not offended anyone with this blog, however I hope I have stirred some thoughts around in your hearts. I struggle everyday with this in every aspect of my life, while at work or driving my car or at the grocery store or at the mall. People are everywhere and most of them are hurting and just wanting to be accepted and loved. They just need someone to listen to them and accept them even if they are misbehaving or not walking like we think they should be. Once again we are not called to judge people or to pretend we know how they should be living. I think perhaps this is why God has called me to be a leader of the youth. The teens are the most over-judged people I know. Society seems to be in denial of their own teenage years and it frustrates me when people prejudge the tattoos and piercings and the dress code they display. Yes, I agree some of these things are strange and not what I would choose for myself, yet I do not let the outward appearance how I feel for these teens.
I challenge all of us to practice accepting people for who they are. I almost bet if you take 5 minutes to talk to the most annoying person at work tomorrow, you will begin to have compassion for them as you discover they are just human. Will you do that? Are you willing to spend just 5 minutes getting to know someone in your life that perhaps you have judged? I am trying to remember God every moment of my day and He shows me things about people sometimes that just knock my socks off. I pray He will do the same for you. I never saw myself has a compassionate person before but the more I try to be a better Christlike person, the more I can see what God sees in others. If we have struggles then so do they. Nobody has had a perfect live, but everyone deserves to receive love.