I have begun a new devotional by Holley Gerth. It is called, ‘God’s Heart For You; Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman.’ I am really enjoying it.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, to bring praise to God. -Romans 15:7-
It’s easy for me to believe that God loves me. I can understand that He has forgiven me. But making the leap to believing He has truly accepted me is another story. Perhaps that’s because we experience so little true acceptance with each other. The preacher talks about grace but gives us a list of rules to follow. Friends promise to always be there for us, only to turn their backs when we don’t meet THEIR expectations. Families boast of unconditional love but withdraw it when we choose a different path. So like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we hide from ourselves, each other and God.
In Beyond the Masquerade: Unveiling The Authentic You, Dr. Julianna Slattery says, “Facing others without my psychological blemishes is actually more terrifying than going out into the world without a shower or makeup. Far more offensive than body odor are my fears, malicious thoughts, insecurities, shame and pride.”
While we strive to make ourselves acceptable, we also secretly long for someone to catch a glimpse of our true selves and exclaim, “You can stop hiding now–I really do love you just as you are!” In the Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers, one character, Hadassah, miraculously survives an attack. However, she walks away with deep scars and always wears veils to cover them. Most of all, she fears rejection from the man she loves if he ever sees her as she truly is. This moving passage describes what happens when he finally does:
‘”Oh, beloved.” The wounds had been deep, the scars running from her forehead to her chin and throat. Releasing her wrists, he touched her face tenderly, tracing the mark of the lion. ‘You are beautiful.” He cupped her head in his hands and kissed her forehead, her cheek, her chin, her mouth. ‘You are beautiful.” She opened her eyes as he drew back slightly and he looked into them. What she saw melted all resistance, removed all shame.’
Those words touch our hearts because we long to hear them ourselves. Yet there is Someone who speaks this way to our hearts every day. When Christ went to the cross, He made it possible for us to stop hiding. All of our sin, shame and guilt have been erased. The Lord constantly looks at us with eyes of love. His scars bring healing and even beauty to our own.
Will the Lord still reveal areas in our lives that need to change? Yes, of course. But His conviction is about what we do, not who we are. Real friends tell you when you have something in your teeth. They love you enough to speak the truth, and Jesus is our most faithful friend of all. He sees deep within our hearts and tells us when something is stuck there that doesn’t belong. His correction always comes with grace, not condemnation.
When we open our hearts and let God speak to us, we discover, like Hadassah, That we’re truly known and loved in a way we never thought possible. The acceptance we long for is already ours if only we dare to embrace it.
You are accepted.
Hey you, the one wondering if you’re enough, if you’d be loved if anyone really knew you–turn your heart this way for a moment, then lean in and listen close…Acceptance? You’ve got it. You don’t have to look any further than the hands of the One who made you, the heart of the One who loves you. You’re welcomed, held, cherished just as you are and encouraged to grow into all you’ll become. So hold your heart and head high; look the world in the eyes and say…”I’m His, I’m loved. I’m already accepted today.”