Most parents love their children, but great parents don’t just accept all aspects of them. Children are impressionable and malleable. As they grow, they acquire certain mentalities, make life changing decisions, lifestyle choices, and they form both good and bad habits. Ultimately, human beings are flawed and will make wrong choices. Regardless of whether we are known for our good deeds or our bad ones, most of us still have a desire to be accepted. That’s because we all were born with a desire to love and be loved. Acceptance often makes us feel loved, but acceptance isn’t love.
In Genesis 4:7, God tells Cain he will be accepted if he does what is right, but if he does the opposite, sin would crouch at his door with a predatory desire for him. Cain was supposed to master the sin, in order to be accepted by God.
God gave him parental advice, but Cain did not listen. He was as stubborn as we, human beings can be. When God says something we don’t want to hear, we often react by sucking our teeth and thinking “Great…more rules…”, “How can God be loving if…?”, “How can any one live like this?”, “How can I marry someone if He doesn’t want me to test drive her first?” …etc.
The message of this blog applies to everyone, though not everyone will enjoy it and accept the truth in it. God loves EVERY single person, but He does not discriminate. Therefore, He will not accept all who choose to do wrong in His eyes…myself included. I’m not inherently worthy of His acceptance. No one is. Furthermore, God will not accept those who don’t understand they can’t outlove Him, nor those who seek to redefine what He has established.
However, God will accept those who follow His commands. He will also accept those who understand that He alone is God (we do not share Divinity with Him), as well as those who recognize morality was first established by Him, not a barbaric neanderthal. The Bible says God loved us before we even existed.
The reason we witness and even participate in moral decline which started before our generation (mind you), is because we have kept pushing God farther and farther away. Everyone who is against God feels they have some bone to pick with him. “God took a parent from me”, “God allowed me to be a victim of…(you name it)”, “God didn’t stop X,Y,Z from happening”. Almost all of us (believers and skeptics alike) have a story in which God seems to have allowed us to undergo trials and hardships. If He didn’t “spare” or “rescue” us the way we had hoped, it was perhaps due to one of the following:
1) He’s God. He knows the end from the beginning. Therefore, He knows the best way to help us grow spiritually (if we desire that kind of growth).
2) Someone else was exercising the same free will we also possess (and God does not interfere with the will of a fully committed heart) except if the person’s will would interfere with His own. The strongest wills always win in the spiritual places.
3) He wants us all to have stories and testimonies, not of how we’re victims of circumstance, but victors despite circumstance.
4) He wants us to see how He did, in fact, protect us from worse situations. Sadly some prefer to focus on the darkness of their clouds instead of silver linings. For instance, it isn’t surprising for people who total their cars in a crash to be angry. In fact, some are more bitter against God for taking away their $30,000+ vehicle than others who have lost limbs and or mobility, but still ciar to see how God saved their lives.
God loves us even if we can’t always feel it. He demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ (the historical Jesus) died for us and rose again. He did this so that even when we fall short (while hopefully making progress in our spiritual growth), those who accept Him as LORD and savior will always be free from the guilt and shame of their past sins. (See Romans 5:8)
God loves us and does not hold sins we committed in ignorance, or even ignorant defiance against us. Remember, Christ told His Father above to forgive those who were spitting upon Him, cursing at Him, ridiculing Him, and throwing things at Him, for they knew not what they were doing. Sure, they knew they were spitting, cursing, and throwing things at Him, but they didn’t know they were doing it to one who loved them beyond measure. They didn’t know they were feeding darkness and hate. They didn’t know that the one who was dying for them wasn’t dying because He wasn’t divine, but because He had taken up mortal flesh so that He could demonstrate the ultimate form of love, self-sacrifice to the point of death.
Love is not acceptance. It can often involve acceptance, but it is not. God loves us despite our flaws and sin. He does not accept sin and welcome it. How can He accept something that separates the human creature He loves from Him?
Sin has a symbiotic relationship with its host and it rewards its host with instant gratification. The host’s conscience tries to reprimend and correct the soul to whom it pertains, but sin is seductive. It feeds on intense desire, then traps its prey through memories of excitement before a sinful act, satisfaction during the act, or even shame after the act. Sin either makes the host believe it can replace the need for God, or that its soul is condemned. Resultantly, the host feeds it with more of himself (or herself).
We share ourselves with sin and when there is no more self to go around, we have left nothing for God. Selfishness is born from the desire to feed the flesh. When we feed into the cycle of self indulgence, sin (if we should personify it) absolutely loves it!
Only in daring to love Christ, does our love for Him also become an acceptance of everything He stands for. He hates sin. Christ didn’t deviate from the righteousness of God. There is no sin in Christ for us to reject. He walked a path no one else could. For everyone has lied, stolen, cheated, and sinned somehow except Him. Therefore, all but Christ have fallen short of God’s glory. Jesus lived as the single best example of how human beings should live their lives. Jesus doesn’t have to accept everything that is wrong about someone’s life in order to love that person. One day, He will return to fix everything that is wrong with the world because He doesn’t accept everything about it. There is so much beauty in it and yet so many snares. Even so, God still loves the world (its people), but if you’re still convinced that love is acceptance, you’ll be disappointed. God will not accept everyone especially when sin and soul have formed an unbreakable bond.
If love is not acceptance, then what is it?
Let’s hear what the original source (and I don’t mean a Hallmark card) says about it:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.