August 16th – ‘Not one of us’



The German theologian Jurgen Moltmann says, in one of his books, that “Acceptance is the atmosphere of our humanity”. Forgive me repeating it: “Acceptance is the atmosphere of our humanity”.
What he meant was: without acceptance you and I are unable to live and breathe as we ought. When we are not accepted as we are, as human beings, we feel dehumanised, psychologically rubbished, rejected as worthless.To be accepted is the basic requirement of our humanity. it’s the air we breathe.
No one knows how they know it, but babies, two weeks old, know if they are loved or not. If they’re not, they develop insecurity symptoms.Many of the deepest hidden shapers of our characters go back to whether we were accepted or not by our mothers, or sisters, by our peer group, by the people we wanted to impress. When folks say ‘I don’t care what people think’, I don’t believe them – because all humans care what others think of them. Rejection is the greatest of all the spiritual tortures.To be accepted is a basic requirement of human life.Just like the food we eat, it does not necessarily make us successful, but without it we’d be dead in no time at all.
The point of all this today is not necessarily to get you to search your own soul to see how accepted you have been, but rather how accepting you are! What is your shock-ability limit? Can you, do you, welcome people as people, whatever their dress, disease, their class, their colour, their accent? Can you treat them as people?
Try an even harder question. How welcoming is your church? Oh I know you wouldn’t turn anyone out, but how much of an atmosphere of acceptance is there for people who don’t quite fit into our ‘club standards’? Jesus said:
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evil-doers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get’.
But the tax collector stood at a distance.He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’.
‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
A Prayer warning:
Don’t you dare to pray “Thank you Lord that I am not like that Pharisee”!
Now read Romans Chapter 15.

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Thought 4 The Day

It is better to deserve honours and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them. (Mark Twain)

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