“Rejection and Acceptance”

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, June 24, 2022 comes to us from Bill Pike of Virginia.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

Psalm 66:16-20 NIV

 

“Rejection and Acceptance”

I enjoy tinkering with words. There is no better feeling than when a piece I have written is accepted by an editor, and it hurts to receive a rejection notice. But that hurt is nothing compared to the hurt we feel when rejected by someone we know. We all are different. Yet, deep inside each of us is the desire to be accepted. We want to fit in, we want to be heard, and we want to be understood. I am an imperfect Christian. I remember times when I have not accepted or understood people in my encounters, I’m sure my rejection hurt them.


Jesus loved people who were rejected by society. He demonstrated for us how we should live – especially when we encounter a person who is struggling to find acceptance. The last sentence in 1 Samuel 16:7 offers time-tested wisdom: “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” As we look to improve our hearts and our interactions with people who are searching for acceptance, we can be encouraged by Psalm 66:20: “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

 

Friends –

Like Bill Pike, I am sure that I have failed to act with acceptance toward others whom I do not know, and I pray for God’s forgiveness and theirs. Also, I have experienced not feeling like I was being accepted for one reason or another. I can’t always be sure what the reasons for not being accepted are. Perhaps someone didn’t like my appearance; or perhaps we disagreed about a particular political or theological position; or perhaps they thought that a woman shouldn’t be a pastor.


But Psalm 66:20 offers an important perspective on our relationships with others, especially those whom we don’t know yet, reminding us that God sees everyone’s heart and does not focus on appearances. I invite you to consider moments when you have not accepted someone or when you haven’t felt accepted. Were you able to trust that God accepted you without condition?

--Pastor bea

 
Prayer:

Father of us all, help us to see people’s hearts and not just their outward appearance. Help us to love like Jesus. Amen.

--Bill Pike


Prayer Focus:

Someone Who needs my Acceptance.


Thought for the Day:

I can offer God’s gift of acceptance to each person I meet.

 

The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)