Maybe our finest hours or greatest moments are not meant to be well known, but subtle, seemingly unnoticed acts of kindness felt by the souls we touch. —William Cory Stanley
What do I mean by compassionate acceptance?
Well, let’s begin by examining each word first.
Google says COMPASSIONATE means: feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others; offering synonyms such as, sympathetic, empathetic, understanding, caring, solicitous, sensitive, warm, loving.
I would hope we would all like to have those things said about us, yes?
Okay, so what about acceptance?
Once again, I went to Google where I found this:
- the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.
- the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.
- And Google offered me the synonyms of: receiving, taking and obtaining, welcome, favorable reception, and adoption.
I like those, too, but does that describe His Church?
I want to be part of an UnQuoChurch!
So my question to The Church is two-fold.
First, is this what the unchurched, unbelieving world sees when they look at us? Are we, sympathetic, empathetic, understanding, caring, solicitous, sensitive, warm, and loving to all?
Is this how we behave toward, the broken and wounded, our prodigals, those we disagree with; the lost?
And secondly, “If not—why not?”
I don’t know about you but I don’t like what I see when I look at the Status Quo.
And I’m starting to look around and ask myself, “Molly girl, what are you doing here?”
Is this our idea of Grace?
I don’t like to talk casually about something so priceless.
(Grace cost God a King’s ransom quite literally!)
But, I have to say, the more I listen to the “un-Christian,” unloving chatter on the inside of our walls, and observe the angry behavior; the condemning critical rhetoric (by us) on the outside of our walls? The more I ask myself, “Would Jesus want to hang out with folks like us?” Or…
- Would He be found in the bars, the down-and-out neighborhoods, chatting up the “red-light” girls?
- Would He be making the lonely nights bearable in some homeless shelter, or serving up smiles and sodas in some soup kitchen?
- Would He be hanging out with what the world refers to as riffraff?
- Would we really find Him in our churches?
(In case you wondered—these are strictly a rhetorical questions.)
“Who DO YOU say that I am?” —Jesus
Isn’t that the REAL question that needs asking?
Jesus asked it of His chosen twelve way, way, back…
When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”
Matthew 16: 13-15 MSG
We claim to be His disciples—isn’t this question for us as well?
There’s this big “loud” banner that hangs on the wall of my church:
It says, “A PLACE TO BELONG.”
Most Sundays? I just stare at it and wonder, “A place to belong? Who is that addressing? Our friends? Our families? Ourselves? Who, belongs here?
Do our neighbors belong here? The prodigals? The hostile and unfriendly lost? This town’s riffraff?
“Who do ‘WE SAY’ that He is?”
Perhaps, we should all look at Jesus, and ask this same question, but ask it like this,
“LORD? Who, do You say, that I am? Do I really represent Your hands, Your feet, Your heart, to this broken, battered, and beat-up world?”
Jesus, “When the world looks at me? Who do they see?”