We all want to be loved and accepted for who we are. But when we look at other people, we often want to see change in them or in their circumstances. That’s not our role.
The Bible challenges us to consider this when Jesus asks, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3, New International Version)
“Accepting people as they are, rather than trying to change them, will help them become the best possible versions of themselves.” Jaime Thurston, Kindness: the little thing that matters most
This doesn’t mean we have to agree with someone’s lifestyle or choices. We don’t have to agree in order to love and accept them; acceptance is the bridge over our differences and love enables us to connect. Obviously, we have to be wise and safe in our relationships and sometimes the loving thing to do is to accept we cannot change a situation and walk away.
The ‘Serenity Prayer’ by Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr is helpful when facing situations like this:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
When we take time to look at ourselves, we realise there are many things that need to change. Knowing we are loved and accepted makes embracing these changes easier. In Peaced Together we look at how love can act as a catalyst for change.
This week, look out for opportunities to be more accepting. As you do this, positive change could flourish for those around you. Your acceptance will give others confidence to thrive and courage to face change.