As a child, I remember disappointing my parents. On many occasions. I recall acting in ways and saying things that hurt and angered them. Especially as a teenager. I know they wanted what’s best for me, but in my immaturity and youth, I thought I knew best. I thought I had grown enough to not need their wise council anymore.
Even though I am grown now, I can still recall times when our relationship was a bit broken. I had said and or done things to create a gap in our relationship. And I felt it. Things were not “right” at home. The usual joyfulness and peace that was normally there, was absent in times of strife. There were times that I knew I was in the wrong, and I needed to apologize. But many times, my stubborn pride kept me from making things right. It kept me from owning my mistakes and accepting responsibility for my actions and asking for forgiveness.
Funny how certain patterns repeat themselves into adulthood, isn’t it?
I have repeated this pattern in my marriage, and in other relationships as well. Especially in my relationship with God.
1 John 1:9 holds a powerful truth. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This is an “if and then” statement.
You’ll notice that confession brings forgiveness. When I have unconfessed sin in my life, it creates a relationship barrier between myself and God. Like when I was stubborn with my parents and didn’t own up to my actions. But with confession, comes forgiveness! And with forgiveness comes restored relationship!
There is no relationship more important than the one I have with God through Jesus. It is because of Jesus’s perfect sacrifice that I can have forgiveness and enjoy connection and peace with God! Check out Ephesians 1:7. “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
This means that because of Jesus’ death on the cross, and my acceptance of the free gift of salvation through Him, I have forgiveness of sin. Now I can enjoy the riches of God’s grace! The broken relationship is healed! There is no longer a need to try to be “good enough” for God to accept me, He already does through His Son! My relationship with God is restored and unbroken through confession of sin.
Psalm 103:12 tells us how God forgives and forgets our sin. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Unlike humans, God has the ability to forgive and truly, and completely, forget the things we confess. This means that once we confess our wrongdoings and sins to the Father, they are gone! He remembers them no more! You and I do not forget our mistakes, and often the enemy of our souls likes to remind us of them to hold us prisoner to the past. But we do not need to stay there, trapped in guilt and shame, “beating ourselves up” for sin. Confess it and be free. Stop looking back, you are not going that way!
I am forgiven! (And you are too!)
Because we are forgiven, we are also accepted.
Because the broken relationship has been restored, we are accepted by God. Romans 15:7 makes this truth simple and clear. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
We all want to be accepted. We work to attain an identity to fit in within certain circles. Those circles might be work related or socially driven. They may be at church or in our communities. Experiencing acceptance by others is a heart desire that we all possess. It’s why we join clubs, or bowling leagues, or steer towards certain types of people groups. The desire for acceptance by others comes from a deeper desire to be accepted wholly and completely by our creator. He put that desire in our hearts, and it can only be truly realized in the peace we feel when we embrace that we are accepted by Him! It is only when we seek our core acceptance from Him, that we can be fully satisfied.
In all my years, I have desired acceptance from various people, or social groups too. I think it’s safe to say that I always will in a lot of ways.
But what I find so exciting is that even if I am never accepted socially in any group ever again, that I am accepted by God into His family! What a joy to know that the desire I have deep within me to be accepted, has already been met in the wonderous love of God! The truth is, I don’t really need to search for acceptance on earth any longer, since the kind of true and lasting acceptance can only be fulfilled by the One who loves me the most and created me for His good pleasure. If He is pleased and accepts me, that’s all I need!
Here is something that I find hard to believe but know to be true; God knows me at my best, and He knows me at my worst. Yet He loves and accepts me into His family, and into His kingdom. It’s not about anything that I have done, it is all about everything that He has done on my behalf.
If you’ve known the sting of rejection (and I ‘m sure you have), let your heart be comforted and make it a priority to remember that you are accepted by God! Jesus makes that possible when we place our trust and faith in Him.
This is week two of the series that we are in on the blog. We will continue to spend the next few weeks exploring the names that God gives to us. The various ways that He addresses us. We started last time with LOVED. This time we are adding FORGIVEN and ACCEPTED to the list.
I encourage you to grab that pretty notebook that we mentioned last time and add “forgiven” and “accepted” to the page you started. (Didn’t start one? It’s not too late!) Keep that notebook handy as we continue to add to this list!
God wants you to know that you are loved. He went to great lengths to ensure that you would know this truth. Remember, the enemy wants us to focus only on our faults and shortcomings. He works hard to steer us away from knowing the perfect love of God. I believe that since you are here today, reading this, that God brought you here to remind you of His love for you, and for your need for Him.
You are LOVED!
And if you have accepted Jesus, and His finished work on the cross, you are FORGIVEN and ACCEPTED!
Come back next week to continue this series. Have a friend that could use some encouragement and proof that she is loved by God? You can easily share this blog with her. Use the “share” option from your phone or tablet or email her a link! See you again soon!
4 thoughts on “Belonging”
Shelli, your post reminded me of an experience I had when we first moved here and before we found Grace Church. I think we had only been here about two weeks. I had needed to go to Walgreens and I saw this lady. I could tell by the way she was dressed that we had the same convictions (or so I thought!). She clearly didn’t want to talk to me after I had said hi and how are you and she just said hi and kept on shopping. No smile. No nothing.
I have to say I was crushed by that experience which was made worse when I would run into women apparently from the same church later in the week with the same reaction.
I remember asking the Lord if there was something wrong with me and asking Him why won’t don’t they like me or want to be my friend.
I guess I have this desire to be liked and accepted like you had mentioned in your post.
It is so refreshing to me that I am loved and accepted by God. It doesn’t matter if a group of ( dare I say it?) snooty women don’t like me. It’s there loss! Okay that sounded prideful but you get the point.
Wow – I really needed that today! My favorite part: “…the desire I have deep within me to be accepted, has already been met in the wonderous love of God!” Thank you!
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In my study I have learned that Jesus’ Death and Resurrection should not be spoken about separately and I realize Redemption and forgiveness of sin go together the same.
I love what Pastor Wayne said “Jesus completed the Gospel” oh, what a Savior!
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The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:15 NIV
When we surrender our lives to Jesus we are adopted into God’s family…. WOW! Understanding true acceptance is knowing it’s a come as you are invitation! And Praise The Lord HE doesn’t leave us that way!!! Lol But this is where confession and repentance come in. 😉 Thank you sister for your reminders and guidance! I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it!! 💜
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