1. GOD ACCEPTS YOU UNCONDITIONALLY
Jesus way of unconditional acceptance, in welcoming social outcasts, like this woman described as someone living a sinful life, reflect the very heart of God's nature and beingness:
A God of eternal mercy and grace,
A Father of immeasurable embrace,
The Giver and Source of all forms of kindness, generosity, openness, sympathy.
It is also good to be reminded that you don't have to work hard to earn God's acceptance:
In Christ, you are unconditionally accepted--always and already.
In a culture, when her worth was measured by her physical appearance and her past mistakes,Jesus said, "I'll take you. I'll take your gift of brokenness, guilt, and shame. When no else will, Jesus accepted her gifts, her self.
2. WE NEED TO ACCEPT GOD'S LOVE
This woman, she accepted it. She did--wholeheartedly.
She came in extremely thirsty for acceptance. And after many years of getting only rejections:
...of people's loathing expressions;
...of neighbors avoiding her; relatives talking about her,
Someone said, "hey, your sins, they're all forgiven, you can go in peace now."
And like someone who was deprived of water for a very, very long time,
She drank the water of Christ's mercy so eagerly.
This is the grace of God cleansing, changing, restoring.
When we find ourselves in seasons of sin and guilt, may we drink from the well of God's grace.
But when we are in times of obedience, may we also be humble to recognize:
that the very willpower, efforts, strengths we have, are also empowered, sustained by the same grace that emanates from God.
3. WE MUST ACCEPT OTHERS
I know that is not always easy.I also know there are also healthy boundaries we also need to have. But the love we sometimes find insufficient in accepting the guilty, the undeserving, can be, every now and then, supplied, replenished, refueled by the love of God.1 John 4:19-We loved because God first loved us.
When we know we are accepted by God, a spacious awareness is created from within us: So we can welcome one more person...
So we can widen our arms to embrace one more soul,
To be moved to ease someone's pain,
To love others because you know that you are a dearly loved child of God.
4. WE NEED TO ACCEPT OURSELVES
v. 50: Jesus said, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
What sweet words to hear, after carrying so much inner turmoil for many years:
To be at peace with God. To be at peace with oneself.
And part of being at peace with oneself is accepting ourselves--just as we are.
Our strengths and our weaknesses,
With our beauty and our blemishes.
That we are made in God's image, but we are also fragile human beings.
Self-acceptance is neither overlooking nor condemning our human condition.
But it is being mindful of our frailty while hopeful for our potential to grow, to change.
And so today may you hear the words Jesus gave to this woman: "Be now at peace..."
When your past is dragging you backward, "be at peace."
When guilt is telling you, you are unworthy, "be at peace."
When you are worried about what people will say, "be at peace."
When you tried something, and it did not work out, "be at peace."
When we feel that we don't fit in, or we don't measure up..
May we know that in Jesus Christ, we are unconditionally accepted in God.