If you've ever felt like an outsider or judged by others, you understand the power of the word--ACCEPTED!
If you've ever felt rejected, being accepted is all the more fulfilling.
My husband shared this story in a sermon he preached not too long ago. It's about one of his roommates from Bible college in North Dakota. My husband was 17 years old when he arrived at college. He had left behind the safety and protection of a loving family and moved three states to the west. The first day he arrived at the dorm, he met his first roommate.
That night, in the darkness of the dorm room, my husband ask his roommate to tell him a little about his life. To make a long story short, the roommate had not grown up in a loving family nor had he lived 'a church kid' kind of life. My husband jokingly said that after that first night, he wanted a night light in his room. Mike was his roommate's name.
Over the course of that year, they became great friends. When my husband returned for his second year of college, his friend, Mike, began dating a pastor's daughter who also attended the college. My husband felt his roommate had set his sights a bit high seeing his sorted past, but Mike pressed on. The relationship grew and the girlfriend invited him to spend Christmas vacation with her family in another state.
It seemed to everyone who knew Mike that this relationship was a recipe for disaster. What would the girl's parents think when Mike showed up on their doorstep. He had grown up without any advantages, and the young man had 'a past.'
Mike rode the bus two states west to meet his girlfriend's family. When he arrived, the father and daughter meet Mike at the bus station. With excitement in the father's voice, he sincerely welcomed Mike to their family's Christmas. Mike couldn't believe the welcome. He thought for sure he would be examined and found wanting.
Then they arrived at his girlfriend's house and the mother greeted them at the door. She threw her arms around Mike and hugged him tightly. Mike couldn't remember the last time he'd been hugged by a mother figure. The mom showed Mike around the house and told him that the food in the fridge was his, the bedroom was his, and while he was with them he was to consider himself at home.
The dad gave Mike a spare set of keys to the family's second car and told Mike that while he was visiting, the car was his to use.
Why did these parents accept Mike? They didn't even know him. I'm sure they knew his past, yet he was still welcomed. Why?
I know the reason Mike was accepted by these parents. It was because of the relationship he had with their daughter. Because of her, Mike was brought into relationship with her parents. Because of her, the parents welcomed Mike into their family.
Ephesians 1:6 is a reminder that all of us were once looked on as unacceptable, but through Christ, we became accepted.
To the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
These four words, accepted in the beloved, may very well be the most beautiful words I've ever heard.
Had Mike showed up on the doorstep of these parent's house without having a relationship with their daughter, he would not have been hugged, fed, housed, or given car keys. He would not have been accepted.
And what makes us accepted by God, the father is our relationship with His Beloved Son.
We are accepted in the beloved!