Archive | May, 2012

TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

11 May

Two sides of the same coin. What in the world does that mean? Every coin made has two sides – a head side and a tails’ side. Both sides combine to make one coin. Both are necessary in order to make the coin useful wherever you go, to make it worth something.

It’s the same in dealing with people. There is a dynamic in relationships that make the following truths essential.

ASSUME ACCEPTANCE

Several years ago a youth minister shared this truth with me. He related that many people (myself being one of them) seem to approach relationships with a “grid” or “filter of rejection” in their minds by which they monitor people’s responses to them. If the responses are positive, that person feels accepted and responds accordingly to the individual. If the response is less than positive, the person will hold back in the relationship. Often this grid acts as a protective device for the one using it to keep from getting hurt by others, much like pulling the petals off a flower one at a time. “He accepts me. He accepts me not. She accepts me. She accepts me not.” There is not the sense of freedom in relationships because there is always the fear that their actions will confirm what was believed all along – “I’m not accepted.”

There is an answer to this merry-go-round. Assume acceptance. Ephesians 1:6 says, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” According to Strong’s Concordance the word for “accepted” means “indue with special honor.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states it means “to peruse with grace, to compass with favor; to honor with blessings.”

We can see what blessing it holds when we discover that the same word for “accepted” is the same Greek word used in Luke 1:28 when the angel announces to Mary, “…Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee…” What was the favor that the Lord bestowed on Mary? To be the birth mother of Jesus, the Savior of the world! And what honor has He given us? To be the dwelling place of this same Savior! “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). Imagine! You and I are common clay pots, yet the God of the universe has chosen to let the treasure of His dear Son dwell in us.

When we see our acceptance in Him, then we can follow in our relationships by assuming acceptance with them, rather than constantly being on guard. We’re free to be who we are in Him – ACCEPTED!

RECEIVE OTHERS

When my family used to go visit our grandparents in the thriving metropolis of Blanket, Texas (population 300 – though where that number came from, I don’t know!), one of our grandmother’s would yell as we knocked on the door, “Come in this house, you sorry thing!” In no way was she casting dispersions on our character. She was excited to see us. She was practicing what one Bible teacher calls “the principle of receiving.”

According to Romans 15:7, we are to “receive one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” When Christ received us, He brought us to Himself: He admitted us to His friendship and hospitality. He took us as a companion, receiving us into His home, granting us access to His heart (again, Strong’s Concordance and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). He did this so that God would get the glory, and He asks us to do the same with others – receive them so that God is glorified.

When I have chosen to obey and receive people who are difficult to love, by cooperating with the Holy Spirit for these people to be all He wants them to be in my life and being willing to do the same for them, I have experienced a difference in my attitudes. Instead of self-righteous attitudes that do nothing to engender warmth toward others, I gain a new appreciation for those God has placed in my life and a willingness to participate in relationship with them. I’m able to see them as a gift through whom God wants me to receive benefit – for His glory and my best.

Two sides of the same coin. Two truths for the same relationship. ASSUME ACCEPTANCE and RECEIVE OTHERS. That’s a coin God gives us to use wherever we go. That’s a coin worth its weight in gold.

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