Read it again: Jesus doesn’t accept you.
But isn’t Jesus all about forgiveness and love?
Everywhere you turn, our culture is loudly preaching a gospel of acceptance. Everyone is completely free to be and do whatever it is they want. If you love me you will accept me for who I am. But don’t you dare ask me to change – thank you very much.
In this backwards world we live in acceptance has been equated with love; you’re either loving and accepting or you’re a hate-filled bigot. I’d like to propose that the reality is: acceptance is the antithesis of love.
If I truly love you, I am going to encourage you to change as it is part of growth. And I would hope those whom I hold dearest would do the same for me. I’m not awesome yet….I have a long way to go (and will likely never get there.) I don’t want to stay who I am and I sincerely hope you don’t want me to either. Which is why I can never settle for “acceptance.”
A practical example of this: parenting. We all love our kids like crazy (even though they sometimes make us crazy!) But if a parent accepts their toddler without encouraging them to change and grow, is that really love? I mean, nobody loves potty training, but we do it because we refuse to accept them just as they are – and we could afford a vacation if we could stop buying diapers! Amen??!
The same is true of Jesus: because of love, He doesn’t just accept us. Now, I’m not saying you have to become some impossible version of perfect to get to Jesus, because that’s not it at all. We can’t get there which is the whole point of the cross. By all means, come to Him just as you are – just don’t expect to stay that way. I’ve never known, or heard of, a single person who wasn’t radically changed by knowing Jesus. There is not a person of whom Jesus says, “Nah, you’re fine just as you are.” The truth is: the more time we spend with Jesus, the more we begin to look like Him rather than ourselves. His love and holiness compel us to change! Romans 2:4 says, “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Change can sound, and sometime be, scary! But this is GOOD news! God never intended for us to stay just as we are. He knew us before we were born (Jer 1:5) and we are His workmanship (Eph 2:10) in whom He will bring to completion the good works He has started in us (Phil 1:6).
Do you get it? He created us TO change but not on our own – it will all be by His work in us. We are all a broken, hot mess when we come to Jesus, and He lovingly draws us to Himself just as we are. But then, dear friends, He does not accept us for who we are. He changes who we are for His glory and our sanctification.
Jesus doesn’t accept you. Jesus loves you! And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be loved than accepted any day!