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Just as I am

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due.  (Romans 15:7 VOICE)
Mother Teresa always reminded us of the power of a smile: "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." She also said we are responsible to ensure no one ever leaves our presence without being just a little bit happier - how? Through the spreading of love wherever we go!  There is something powerful in accepting the other person - complete with their quirks and hangups, their good intentions and their not so "holy" ones, their wisdom and their foolishness. My dad used to remind me that the things happening in my life might just pale in comparison to the other person's life's events, so I shouldn't judge based on what I see on the surface.  It was that old adage of "there for the grace of God go I" kind of moment.
Acceptance involves approval - not so much of the actions of the other person as the person themselves. Too many times I think we confuse this - thinking when we accept another individual for who they are, we are somehow condoning the not so good parts of their actions, character, or choices. This isn't exactly the way God sees it, because the example he set for us was one of accepting us exactly as we are - not because he enjoys or condones our sin, but because he loves us. When we accept another, we are receiving them "willingly" into our lives - with no strings attached, no sense of obligation to perform or be a certain way in order to be "in our circle".  I think Mother Teresa may have had this down to an "art" in her life, for she could reach out to the lame, dying, crippled, and maimed as easily as she could the "whole".
When we accept another, we are taking them into our lives - we are holding them in a place of value which others may not always see or appreciate. I am fortunate to have been "accepted" by some pretty awesome people in my life. I have been blessed to be loved just as I am, not as I could be. The ones who embrace me in this manner aren't busy trying to "make me" a certain way, but are willing to be with me exactly as I am, allowing God to do the work of changing anything in me that might not be as it should be in my life. In so doing, we find ourselves able to grow together - no one being anymore "perfect" than the other - for we are pretty much equally in need of change - maybe just not in the same places.
God's acceptance is sometimes modeled to us in the lives of those who leave our lives just a little bit happier by just being with them. We don't know the power acceptance holds in the lives of those we meet each day - for nothing may display the love of Christ more completely as just allowing a person to be exactly who they are. Just sayin!

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