We all want to be understood and accepted for who we are. But wholeheartedly accepting each other does not require us to compromise our core values. There’s a place for us to seek to understand and accept each other even as we passionately disagree and challenge each other toward our better.
To be sure, we all long for a sense of love and belonging – to know we’re accepted for who we are without having to do anything to earn it. This is ideally what helpless infants experience from birth – to trust others will be there for them even when they’ve done nothing to earn this love and acceptance per se.
And this core desire remains regardless of how old we get. While we become keenly aware of our undone, broken, and wounded parts, we still long for unconditional acceptance.
But acceptance is not merely turning a blind eye to those messy parts in our story. In fact, part of love also includes inspiring each other to become the best version of ourselves.
Families accept each other unconditionally while still holding each other accountable to pursue the highest standards of their guiding principles. And herein lies the tension.
On the one hand, we’re willing to overlook many shortcomings and imperfections for the sake of our connection. Love does not require perfection before it bestows dignity and honor to the other.
At the same time, love does not leave our sins unaddressed. With much patience, gentleness, and kindness, there remains an unwavering commitment to pursue God’s best.
We fail in our duty to love when we seek to correct without also creating the space for others to belong even in their messiness. And we fail also when acceptance essentially becomes keeping each other comfortable and no longer pressing toward the mark of God’s best for us.
Let your love be evident in the way you seek to understand and wholeheartedly accept each other, without compromising God’s standards.