{"devotional":{"title":"Feb 20 Receive one another","content":"

\"\"<\/a>Rom 15: 7 Receive one another<\/span><\/span>~~,  then, just as Christ also received you, to God's glory.\r\n<\/span><\/p>\r\nIdeally, the church, a fellowship of the followers of Christ, should be the greatest haven for people with problems, yet some churches are just the opposite, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:17NIV<\/sup>: \u201cYour meetings do more harm than good<\/i>.\u201d 

We all need to have someone or a special group of people who fully and unconditionally accept us for who we are now.

In such an environment, we do not have to change or pretend to be someone else; we are genuinely secure with this group of folks or this special person. We all crave this experience from the depths of our souls.

Furthermore, this deepest need of all people is free<\/i>. It does not cost a penny, yet most Christians are stingy and make acceptance of others very expensive to acquire. This attitude is learned from childhood and secular social clubs, where the right clothing, the right physique, the right financial status or success, the right family heritage, and the right acquaintances are all essential to acceptance.

The church in Rome at this time was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles who naturally despised each other and socially ridiculed each other. In the church, this attitude was prohibited. All divisiveness, quarreling, contentiousness, and criticism were considered unacceptable, carnal behavior. Jesus warned in a parable that if one had received grace and forgiveness, he was obligated to demonstrate it to others or risk severe chastisement (Matt 18:23\u2013-33).

The present imperative \u201cto be constantly accepting<\/i>\u201d means to continually \u201ctake to oneself, take along with oneself, or take as one\u2019s companion.\u201d We are commanded to act in this way \u201cas Christ also received [us]<\/i>,\u201d which, thankfully, was unconditional; now we must demonstrate the same. This is how to glorify God. 

Singing praises means nothing without a Christlike attitude toward others. We must be as accepting, loving, and caring, just as He is, in order to give glory to God.

\u201cLord, You raise the bar so high for us to imitate. Some people are hard to accept, even those who claim to follow You. Teach me to give the gift of total acceptance to someone today, especially to someone I would normally avoid.\u201d <\/i>