God’s Unconditional Acceptance Is Only Half of the Picture

Steve and I get to have some interesting conversations in the course of putting together this magazine.  Usually, they are the cool kind of interesting.  Occasionally, they are the really off-the-wall, “what the heck?” kind of conversations with people.  Luckily, we haven’t had any of those “that ruined my day” kind of interesting conversations.

But, I know human beings, so that is bound to happen one day.  And you can expect that first bad conversation to be thoroughly mocked here in this column.

Once such recent conversation with Steve was about an email exchange he had with someone that was one of those really off-the-wall types.  The gist of the discussion (other than “is this guy insane or high on something”), was about how this dude blasted Steve, and then pulled the “God accepts me just for who I am” card.

In other words, he was telling Steve that he was going to act like a jerk and Steve had to take it or be labeled… well… something I can’t print here if I want to make sure the site doesn’t get blocked by over-zealous filtration software.

There are three things that really bug me about this line of thinking:

  1. It always pains me to see people use the whole “He takes people as they are” crutch.  That is true, but only half the picture.  The other half, the good part in my opinion, is that God also calls us to be a better person at the same time He takes us as we are. If God just accepted us as we are, He would be some Great Enabler. If He just demanded that we do a better job, He would be the old “Big Army Boot in the Sky,” ready to stomp on us for messing up.  Seems like most Christians fall towards one of those two extremes….  Either “I’m good the way that I am, so up yours” kind of attitude or the “gotta get everything perfect and holy before I can accept that you are a Christian” junk.
  2. This “Great Enabler “ crutch always seems to be followed with the revelation that you don’t have to care what people think about you.  Great… it took you how long to figure out Christianity 101 dude? Now why don’t you work on the next step, where God actually teaches you how to be a better person and get along with other people?  That’s a big step, one I am still trying to figure out, but at least I know enough to know that sitting on your kiester, stomping your feet and having a tantrum about “God loves me just the way that I am” is no where in the Bible.
  3. The final step to creating a tri-fecta pseudo-Christian whinefest is to talk about all the people that you know that fell away and still aren’t following God…. like it is some kind of big revelation that people “receive the word with joy, but when the trials of life come, they wither away.”  Oh, wait… I was just quoting the parable of the seeds on the path or whatever it is called.  So, it’s some big revelation that people are doing exactly what Jesus said they would do 2000 years ago?  The point of talking about this is only to show how holy you are and how unholy others are, but the effect is really one of smirking and giggling behind your back.

(this article was also published in the April 2009 issue)


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