You are accepted - Hope 103.2

You are accepted

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsTuesday 16 Apr 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


I don’t watch a lot of TV but I did hear of an American reality show called “Joe Millionaire”. It’s a spin off I understand form the other show “Average Joe”. They try to match up a beautiful young woman with her man – a knight in shining armour. The twist is that the men who seek the woman’s affection look more like frogs than princes. And millions of viewers have watched to see if the woman can get past the man’s appearance and see the prince inside. In the other show,thousands of beautiful young women compete for the affection of a man who they think is fabulously wealthy. Problem is he doesn’t have any money at all,and people watch to see if the princess discovers her prince is a pauper.

Why are these kind of shows so popular? Is it because of one word – rejection? From the safety of our lounge rooms,do we sit and watch and wonder how we would cope in the same situation,.. how we would act if we were silly enough to take part .. would we be accepted or rejected? The show depicts the best and worst of human nature in a one hour episode. It makes good entertainment I suppose ..In one episode the man who was overweight said to the show’s producer – “Basically,the perfect woman for me would be one who accepts me just as I am.”  Isn’t this what we all want? To be accepted just as we are? Unfortunately the world isn’t full of people who accept us just as we are. The host of the show had this bit of advice for him and for all the other Average Joes: if you want the girl,  “Don’t be yourself; try to be someone better than yourself.”  Her message is the same one that we get from a thousand sources every day.  If we’re going to get the girl or the guy,or get ahead,be successful,or simply be happy in life,we have to become someone else.

Or at least pretend to be someone else long enough for people to fall for us. That’s Joe Millionaire’s problem. He gets all these women to fall in love with him based,in large part,on the illusion that he’s someone better- much richer-than his average (though,good looking) self. Almost 30 million people in the US watched the first Joe Millionaire struggle with the dilemma.
“I had to lie to get the girl; when she finds out who I really am,will she still love me?” Isn’t that just like Average Joe’s fear,and our fear? If people find out who we really are,will they still love us?

It’s easy to scoff at these T.V shows as mindless trash-which they are-but are the people on them so very different from us? Don’t we all fear-at times at least-that we aren’t good enough just as we are? Don’t we all hide the truth of our lives-our quirky habits,our deepest dreams,our unseemly past-for fear that we would be rejected in a second if people knew about them? I think this is true not just with classmates and co-workers but even with our closest friends and family. There are parts of us that we refuse to let anyone else know about-because we’re afraid they’d stop loving us if they knew.

Our fear of rejection isn’t completely irrational. We’ve all been rejected.. Can you  remember what if felt like to be the  last one picked for teams on the playground? How many tried out for a sports team  and didn’t get in?  It seems that we’re never “just right” for the job or the relationship. We are
too fat or too thin,too smart or not smart enough,too shy or too pushy,overqualified,or under qualified,too young or too old. It’s a wonder that we don’t walk around with a big L on our forehead for “Loser.”

I’m not saying that life is simply one rejection after another; we experience acceptance,too,but the shadow of rejection,especially childhood rejection,always lurks in the background. Much of the anxiety,sadness,and anger that we struggle with each day comes from a fundamental fear of rejection- a fear that we’ll end up alone in the world. We are anxious because we don’t think we can do life alone. We are sad because we long to be fully known and loved for ourselves,and we want to share our whole lives with others. We get angry because it’s hard to put up a false front of perfection; we get angry that we live in a world where outer appearances do matter,where success is too often measured in dollars,where people who act in certain ways do get ahead.

We can’t pretend that rejection doesn’t matter. It does. We want to be loved and accepted. Rejection hurts.

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But we can learn to be realistic about the damage rejection can do to us. When we were small,it was devastating. The first time you found out you weren’t invited to a party,it may have been a crushing blow. In those days that party was your whole world. But now you know your world is much bigger. You could survive rejection by your spouse,your employer,your best friend,if you had to. Many of us have. Rejection is painful but not fatal. If we can be realistic about this,then we can be more honest and open in our relationships.

When we realize and remember that God-our Father–accepts us for who we are,then we can risk rejection by others,knowing that we always have his love to fall back on.

But first we need to be certain of his love. And that’s not easy. We have cause to fear rejection by God-perhaps him most of all. We are sinners. We have screwed up. We will screw up. Some of us are screwing up right now. We fall short of God’s hope for us everyday. God has a million reasons to reject us. We’re Average Adams and Average Eves. But the solution isn’t trying to pretend that we’re better than we are. We can’t fool God. And here is the greatest reality twist of all: the One who has the most reason to reject us is the only One who will never leave us. Only Jesus is in a position to condemn us,and he’s taken our side. He died for us,he rose for us,he reigns in power for us,he prays for us. (see Romans 8:34)

Neither death,nor life,nor angels,nor rulers,nor things present,nor things to come,nor powers,nor height,nor depth,nor anything else in all creation,will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:36-39 NRSV

God says,”You are my child,chosen and marked by my love; you’re the pride of my life.” [The Message (Bible),Luke 3:18]

Jeff Gibelius,Pastor
The Presbyterian Church at Pluckemin
P.O. Box 402,311 Routes 202-206 North
Pluckemin,New Jersey 07978