5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
The command here is to accept others the way Christ Jesus accepted us. He accepted people unconditionally and indiscriminately. It didn’t matter what their gender was, it didn’t matter their race, and it didn’t matter their political position. He was a magnet. Why was He a magnet? Why did everyone want to be around Jesus? Jesus didn’t judge them. He didn’t condemn them. He didn’t shun sinners. In fact, He warmly welcomed sinners, letting them know that they mattered and yet telling them in truth with love and grace, “Your sin is not acceptable” (see John 8:1-11 for a beautiful example of this).
The meaning of the word “to accept,” literally means “to receive and grant one access to one's heart. To take and receive into one’s home (oikos).” If we want to learn how to accept people, we need to study the life of Jesus and seek to accept people just as He did. Now, did He approve of all types of behavior? No. Did He agree with what people were saying and doing? No. But He was always accepting. He welcomed them, warmly, into relationship with Him and then He spoke the truth in love.
That’s what we are to do. Now, accepting a person does not mean we accept, tolerate or condone their sinful behavior. That is not what Christ did. He loved them and so must we. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
We can’t love, we can’t be connected, we can’t be a supernatural community, we can’t be a testimony of the reality of Christ, unless we accept one another—differences and all.
On a scale from one to ten (ten being the highest), how would you score yourself on the acceptance of others? If your score is fairly low, how can you improve on that?