Romans 15:7 – Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (NIV)
I once went to a Halloween party at a church where I attended Sunday School. My brother was supposed to come with me, but he was sick that night, so I asked a friend to come along. He was delighted and his mother quickly put together a costume.
When we got to the church, the teachers at the door wouldn't let my friend in because he didn't attend Sunday School. He started crying and ran all the way home. At the one place where he should have been accepted, my friend was rejected and turned away.
I still feel guilty and angry about that event forty years after it occurred. I sometimes wonder if my childhood friend ever entered a church again or if he was "scarred" for life. It makes me ponder how welcoming we are in the church today. Acceptance of others need not mean endorsement of all they say or do. Acceptance provides room for others, and ourselves, to grow. As Christ accepts us, so let us accept one another.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You accepted us as we are and welcomed us into Your kingdom. Enable us to show the same tolerance, acceptance, and compassion with all whom we encounter today. In Your holy name we pray. Amen.