DAY THREE | Offer Acceptance
Welcome to day three of this week’s Engage God Daily. With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, we are looking to God’s Word to see how we can offer the moms in our lives the gift of grace. As a reminder, our dictionary understanding of the word grace means “a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.” In Scripture, the word grace has a much broader meaning. Not only is it God’s unmerited favor in our redemption, but most often the word is used to describe the kindness of God either through himself or through Christ-followers.
This week we’re using G.R.A.C.E. as an acronym for five ways we can bless the different kinds of “moms” who have impacted us. On day one this week, we looked at offering gratitude, then looked at offering respect yesterday. Today, we will look to our passage to learn more about offering acceptance to the mothers whom we love.
In our passage today, Paul is writing to the Christ-followers in the city of Rome. Within the church there had been disagreement among believers about whether or not to celebrate certain days of the calendar or whether to eat certain foods. In Old Testament times, God had ordained some foods as “clean,” and other foods were considered off-limits for the Hebrew people and therefore “unclean.” Once Christ rose from the dead those food distinctions were no longer necessary. Some Jewish believers, needed time before they could eat all foods without guilt, while others who lived free in Christ did not understand the hesitation. Romans 15:1–7 addresses the in-fighting between the two groups. Listen to what Paul has to say to first century believers in Rome, and for the timeless truth that is relevant to us today:
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
What is the answer to differences on nonessential issues? (vs 7) What is the outcome?
How would our acceptance of each other glorify God to nonbelievers around us?
The word accept in Greek is proslambano, which in some forms means, “to welcome in.” In verse seven, the verb is “present imperative” meaning that one should continue accepting another person, in this case, fellow believers. The act of accepting fellow believers in this reference is not a one-time decision or a choice to merely tolerate a difference, but rather an ongoing action to “welcome in” to our lives and hearts without judgment. Paul exhorts the Christians in Rome and us today to accept without judging one another concerning differences in how we live out our freedom in Christ. It’s more important for us to accept other Christians in “gray areas”—aspects of life that are not clearly defined in Scripture as either permitted or sinful—than to be “right” in our own minds.
The older I get as a mother and a Christ-follower, the more “gray” I see parenting convictions that once seemed so black and white. For example, when we first moved to McKinney I was pregnant with our fourth and had three little ones four and under. Newly built homes filled our cul-de-sac and surrounding streets. Inside each were young families such as ours desiring to build lasting friendships. As eager as I was to make friends for our kids and with other moms, I confess I worried more about what type of technology my kids might be exposed to, or how much junk food they might eat while away from home. While those concerns were legitimate and wise to consider, they became a main concern for me and dulled my awareness that God had orchestrated a perfect opportunity for to me to move toward my new neighbors with the love of Jesus. My reflexive concern that my kids might watch a show outside of my “approved” list seemed so important at the time. As it turned out, my neighbors had concerns of their own about having playdates at my house. I found that as we built relationships, we learned to navigate our different styles of parenting without judging each other for parenting differently.
Good parents will disagree on lots of issues from whether to make or buy baby food, to how to school our kids, to whether we let our teenagers date. Parenting decisions are tough decisions! So, mothers need to know that we are accepted, however we choose to parent in the “gray.” And even if our kids wear shorts and sandals to Jr. High in January (not that I’d know anything about that), we need to know that we are welcomed in to the lives of those around us, both at home and in the church. We can be so hard on ourselves in this culture of critique, and at times we can be hard on each other.
What are some “gray” parenting issues we can see friction over in the church? Name as many as you can:
- Have you been part of the problem or part of the solution in the life of the mother you will honor Sunday? In what way?
- How can you show acceptance to your mother in honor of Mother’s Day?