Friday, April 27, 2007

God accepts us where we're at

Are you ever tempted to give up or accept defeat because you don't see yourself as perfect and you know your flaws? Welcome not only to the human race, but to all of us who are in Christ, as well.

God accepts us where we're at, and so we're in a true sense to accept ourselves in the same place and others in the place they are at. This means we must avoid looking down on others. Grace accepts people exactly where they're at. And we must apply this to ourselves as well. I know I'm making echoes here, but this is so important. Jesus worked with everyone where they were at.

For some his call seemed drastic, like: "Leave all your 'possessions' behind and come follow me." It is a call that, like Bonhoeffer says, bids us to come and die. But knowing the goal is Christlikeness, especially together as community and his Body in the world, means that we know we'll never be able to say we've arrived. Someday, as our good brother, Pastor Philip Clemens of Pike Mennonite Church so wonderfully shared with us at my father's funeral, we will indeed be "perfected in Christ". But that is not completed yet and we must ever keep that in mind. Otherwise we can become discouraged and think our service in Christ cannot be acceptable to God.

God wants to take us and remake us, like the potter makes the clay vessel. We are the work of God's hands and he wants to remake us in the new creation in Christ. Let's keep coming to him everyday. And let's see others in the same way, accepting where we're at. We can love one another unconditionally that way, praying for each other and accepting each other, just as God in Christ accepts us. And include yourself in that.

What thoughts would you like to add to this?

6 comments:

Allan R. Bevere said...

Ted:

Well said. I find that some Christians get this whole "grace thing" on the wrong side of a couple of different lines. Some certainly acknowledge that God accepts us as we are, but they have trouble accepting people as they are. On the other side, some seem to think that grace is only about God's acceptance of us as we are, when God desires not leave us as we are, but to remake us after his image.

JP Manzi said...

Good thoughts Ted. It is hard, in all honesty, to accept all people where they are at. I am learing though. I have the stain of deeply conservative christianty of my past all over me. They, give good lip service but at times fail to walk their talk.
Love the Sinner hate the Sin....to people outside the faith, this is lip service and they do not see this as accepting people where they are at.

KM said...

The twinned concepts of growth and maturation resonate with me, Ted. Always have. It is a balance of powers, as Allan says -- God's unconditional present acceptance, and His equally transformative future forecast (ie. fore- re- cast, or casting again up ahead...).

By the way, a little while ago, I'd tagged you with a goals-sharing exercise. Without doubt, you've been occupied with very important things, ideas, and people lately, but I thought I'd prompt you anyway given how reflective you naturally are. ;-) Hope you'll be able to join in!

Blessings,
KM

Ted Gossard said...

Allan, Thanks. Yes, I hear you. You have alot more firsthand experience in that, being a pastor.

I think one of the most difficult aspects and the easiest error to slip into is to limit what God wants to do in someone else, simply seeing them as a flawed vessel. Maybe because the flaws we perceive or think we see in them are ongoing. But we need to have a better look at and memory concering ourselves. And besides, love is not to give up, the source of that love from God in Christ.

Ted Gossard said...

JP, Thanks. It is good to get different perspectives from different backgrounds as from you here.

Simple formulas like "love the sinner and hate the sin" can have truth in them, but they need so much more nuancing and work from Scripture and especially in light of the revelation of God found in Jesus.

And we must first of all apply this aright to ourselves, if we're to practice it rightly in reference to and towards others, surely.

Ted Gossard said...

KM, Thanks so much for your kind and helpful words in this. This is certainly an important part of our formation and transformation in Christ.

So sorry I missed that exercise and will gladly join in. Last week I was out of it entirely and early this week, particularly Monday, I was still struggling over something pertaining to working through the past.

Thanks!