God loves you and claims you as his own dear child." – Greg Wilcox
When you’re dealing with challenging circumstances, there’s a power and freedom that come with acceptance. We asked the Rev. Greg Wilcox, senior pastor at the Good Samaritan Society, to share his insights:
Some people try to put their situation in perspective by saying, “What I am going through is hard, but I don’t have it as bad as…” It’s a little self-help. Beyond self-help, a great coping resource is to talk to someone who doesn’t attempt to fix your problem but simply listens and makes you feel loved and affirmed.
As Paul does in 2 Corinthians 12:8–9, where he struggles with a thorn in his flesh, you can think about a hard situation as an opportunity to grow closer to God, to trust him more, to receive his grace.
If you give up, you’ll have an attitude of resignation, of defeat. That will affect—and infect—the rest of your life. Acceptance is empowering because it’s a choice you’ve made. Even if the outcome isn’t what you hoped for, you’re saying, ‘I can live with it.’ That’s a hopeful attitude.
There’s a new kind of inner dynamic. You’ve given up the constant struggling, the daily grind of trying to achieve a particular outcome. This opens your mind and heart to hearing a word or receiving an affirmation from God.
Many people have self-worth issues. Acceptance gives you an awareness that you’re loved by God, and the ability to love yourself. With that comes another benefit: the opportunity to give love to others. It’s hard to love someone else if you don’t feel loved yourself.
My favorites include:
- Luke 15:11–32 (the parable of the prodigal son). Jesus pictures God’s love and acceptance for us when we go astray and challenges us to love and accept each other in the same way.
- Isaiah 49:14–16 (when the Israelites were feeling forsaken and God says his love for them is like that of a mother with her nursing child)
- Colossians 3:12–14 (where we're instructed as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.)
- 1 John 3:1 (John reminds us what great love God has lavished on us)