I bet it would be no surprise to you if I said that most people don’t accept themselves. I can say from personal experience that I will chastise a friend for not giving themselves a break for the exact thing I beat myself up for. I expect perfection from myself. When I don’t expect perfection, I usually expect WAY more than I am capable of being or doing.
The need to be accepted starts early. My daughter came home from school in tears the other day. Someone called her a name and told her she didn’t fit into their group. Frankly, if my girl doesn’t fit in, then it’s not a group she SHOULD be in. She’s the kind of girl who befriends the kids who no one likes, wipes tears away for girls who got bullied then stands up to the mean kid, and picks flowers on the way home for the neighbors as well as her mom. But to my precious growing daughter? She was unacceptable in someone’s eyes, and she did not like anything about herself.
We spend our whole lives trying to find a way to fit in with people. I find myself doing it with the crowd at church, the mom’s at the school, the neighbors on our block, old friends from high school, and even my own family. But worst of all – I find that sometimes I can’t accept myself, and instead of other people tearing me down, I do it to myself.
I end up trying to do lots of grand things or volunteer to do many good deeds, as if this will somehow make me more acceptable, a better mom, wife, and yeah, even a better Christian. But here’s the kicker… there is NOTHING we can do to make ourselves acceptable, and we can NEVER earn our way into Heaven. That’s right. You can actually get it all right as can be, do tons of amazing and wonderful things, but none of it even matters. Oh that good stuff you’re doing? It’s great! But you have to do it because it is an overflow of your heart, not because you are trying to buy perfection or an entrance fee through the pearly gates.
Here’s the amazing gift that comes to us on Easter, and is much sweeter and better than that chocolate rabbit you plan to nibble the ears off of… Jesus’ death on the cross, his resurrection, and his ascension into Heaven MAKES us acceptable to God. He did all the agonizing work for us. Romans 4:25 (CEV) says, “God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.” We can do nothing to make ourselves acceptable. God knew this, so he gave his own son as a gift to us so that we could receive Christ’s goodness. We aren’t perfect, but HE is. God is perfect, flawless, and he lives in a perfect place. He can’t be around sin. But he loved us, and wants to be with us. This is a big problem. So he solved the issue of getting imperfect people like you and me into a perfect place.
The bible says, “God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us!” (2 Corinthians 5:21 LB)
You are never going to be able to make yourself acceptable. You will never be able to do anything that can earn you a ticket to heaven. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been. No matter how ugly, God does and will accept you. Always. God reached down and bridged the gap for us and offers us a beautiful Easter gift, and all we have to do is receive it. He’s just waiting to pour out his love. And by choosing to take his Easter gift, he makes a way for us where we can never make it ourselves.
He loves us that much.
(Newsletter article for April 2011 – Easter) http://www.mtzionum.org/Mt_Zion/Web_%22Logos%22/Web_%22Logos%22.html