Devotions from James Smith’s book, Embracing the Love of God

Don’t we all long for a friend who will welcome us, listen to us and receive all that we have in our hearts and not be shocked or bothered by our failures and struggles?  Such people give acceptance with their eyes, with their voice and presence and it frees us to be who we are without pretending. What a gift! The amazing thing about acceptance is that it isn’t something we do but something that is done to us. As we trust in God’s acceptance of us we will notice that it influences the way we treat others with love.  We are able to love because He loved us first. ( I john 4:19) God is so patient with us and never gives up on us, and accepts us where we are at.  In the same way we have only to open our hearts and love will flow in and through us to others. We are simply channels of that love and it is a work of His Spirit that we are able to love and accept one another on the terms that we have been loved. That means letting people be who they are, with all of their uniqueness, all of their beauty, all of their flaws. That doesn’t mean we don’t want the best for them but we accept one another’s negative aspects just like God accepts ours. It’s not that we overlook their faults or excuse their bad behavior or deny their defects. Knowing does not mean condoning.. Fredrick Beuchner said, “It is not until we love a person in all his ugliness that we can make him beautiful, or ourselves either.”  We need people who will hope for us and yearn for us to be whole and complete.  They are true friends when they see good in us or evil, and they still love us.  Let us accept one another for this is a divine gift. It begins with God reaching out to us and accepting us unconditionally, and then as we take possession of this acceptance, it will move out from our hearts into the lives of others.