But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate. (Mark 6:11 NLT)
They were told not to move, but what if moving would quell another’s feelings of rejection?
Lunch room rules state a student must remain in the same seat. New students often feel uncomfortable regardless of where they sit, especially if they don’t know anyone—and Scarlet didn't. One student, however, took the initiative to break the rule. I assumed she was coming to ask permission to go to the bathroom, but instead she asked, “Dr. Wiles, can me and ____ go and sit by the new girl?” Last year, she had been the new girl. I suppose she knew how rejection felt. An honorable act of intervention.
Jesus knew many would reject his message of love. During my lifetime, I've been rejected numerous times for various things. When I was young, I was normally the last one picked for a game team. I've been turned down for jobs and overlooked for promotions. And I have numerous notches in my belt representing the times one of my articles or devotions has been turned down for publication.
Yet I take comfort in knowing God never rejects me or anyone else—unless they purposefully ignore him. We are all created in God’s image which makes us important and worthy of acceptance. In fact, Jesus said the second greatest commandment—behind loving him with all my heart, was for me to love others as I do myself.
The ways I can show acceptance are abundant. Among them are showing forgiveness when I've been wronged, giving restoration to someone who has failed, initiating friendships, and encouraging those who are discouraged.
What’s one way you can show acceptance to someone today?
Merciful God, when others reject, enable us to be the ones who accept.