Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (NIV)
One common misunderstanding about faithful marriages is that such marriages are between two utterly compatible people who share most common interests and who think alike on most things.
There are such marriages, and such compatibility can help a relationship function smoothly.
However, other marriages survive and even flourish as unions of two very different individuals. One such marriage has been described as a rusty trellis propping up a thorned rose! Somehow the partnership works. The essence of such relationships is not easy compatibility but consistent acceptance.
Our text today refers to differences within the church and points to something beyond these differences. God accepts very different people and invites them to serve Jesus and one another, not letting differences divide but rather enrich.
So it can be with a marriage. We may marry a person believing certain things about them and discover over many years that our first impressions have to be modified. After all, none of us remains just the same, no relationships are immune from change. And so we need to learn to live with differences.
Such changes can cause couples to wonder if they made some “mistake”. Is this person the right person for me? One reply to such a doubt is that we don’t so much marry the “right person”, but we work on being the right people for one another.
Two very different people, odd couples, somehow learn to accept and to love one another as they are, not as we imagined or dreamed they might be.