Definition: In the social sense, to be accepted is to be received by others in a positive way; to be considered worthy of friendship and respect.
1. The Lord understands our need to feel accepted.
Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2. Our desire for acceptance, like so many of our other needs, is one that the Lord Himself wants to be the first to meet.
Romans 5:8 [God accepts us as we are, and loves us in spite of our faults:] But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalm 142:4,5 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. 5 I cried unto Thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
2 Timothy 4:16,17 All men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me.
Hebrews 13:5b I [Jesus] will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
3. Acceptance is a two-way street: if we want others to accept us, we also need to express to others that we love and accept them.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. [See also Luke 6:31.]
Proverbs 18:24a [Take the initiative:] A man that hath [or seeks to have] friends must shew himself friendly.
Matthew 5:46-48 [Show tolerance and understanding:] For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. [See also Luke 6:32-36.]
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you. [See also 1 Peter 4:8.]
James 3:17,18 But the wisdom that is from Above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
4. We must not let our desire to be accepted by others supersede our desire to please the Lord.
John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
5. If we put God first, He will see to it that we are accepted by those He wants us to be close to.
Romans 14:17,18 For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Proverbs 3:3,4 [Stay true to the standard of the Word:] Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Proverbs 22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips, the king shall be his friend.
Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
6. Acceptance among Christians should be based on their mutual faith and love for the Lord.
1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.
1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the Body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
Galatians 2:9 [Even though Paul, before he was saved, had been a persecutor of the Early Church, after his Salvation the apostles accepted him as brother for the Gospel's sake:] And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
Galatians 3:26-28 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:14 For He is our peace, Who hath made both [saved Jews and Gentiles] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
Ephesians 4:2,3 [Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to overlook differences. Paul says that we need to be] endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
7. We can't expect, nor should we desire, to be accepted by the world and the wrong sort of people.
John 15:18,19 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
John 17:14,15 I [Jesus] have given them [His disciples] Thy [God's] Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
2 Corinthians 6:14,17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
1 Peter 4:2-4 He no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.
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