The Light Washed Path

ACCEPTANCE & ACCEPTABILITY -1 Craving Acceptance

Gen. 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you…

Welcome To The Light-Washed Path,

As relational beings we naturally seek acceptance. Acceptance is an indicator of many things, not the least of which involves knowing we are loved and gauging our performance. So it’’s understandable that people look for acceptance.  But the need for acceptance creates serious conflicts in the lives of many people, and it also presents opportunities for great manipulation in our society. There is a growing sentiment that because the need for acceptance is so intertwined with our behaviors, that it should be viewed as a basic human right – i.e. people should have acceptance extended to them without having to earn respect. As this philosophy gains traction among educators we see its influence over public policy, particularly with regard to child development. Increasingly the focus of the classroom is affirming children rather than challenging and educating them.

Today people crave, even demand, acceptance without consideration of the basic concept of acceptability. Acceptance that is extracted by force – that is, without consideration of acceptability, is worthless. If we advance a child through 12 years of schooling without ever holding him or her accountable for the knowledge required to graduate, all because we want them to feel good, then we have betrayed them, and prepared them to fail in the real world. Giving quick passing acceptance to someone without any regard for credibility, is a way of quickly getting rid of someone who you have so little regard for, that you don’’t want to waste the time to engage them. You simply give them the nod of acceptance they want and let them quickly pass by. To practice this charade of cordiality in any meaningful relationships is dangerous, and deceptive.

If you crave acceptance beware how you go about getting it. According to the wisdom of God’’s Word there is only one legitimate way to acceptance and that is through the requirements of acceptability.When I was a young man our society was then influenced by a very simple principle, that every child heard at home, and every student had reinforced at school: Respect must be earned.

It’’s true that on many levels there is an instant acceptance that is extended to people. Like the new neighbor who is welcomed into the community, group, school or church. But then a certain implied standard must be maintained or that acceptance can turn to rejection. There is a direct correlation between acceptance and standards of acceptability. If acceptance is given on credit then it must be maintained or lost. To tamper with this balance is to overthrow the very premise of justice and order. Even in the principle of forgiveness based on mercy, which is given freely without being earned, acceptability is a factor. Because reinstatement is extended as a result of repentance, which is acknowledgement of failure and expressed desire to recommit to the requirements of acceptability. Then the balance between acceptance and acceptability is left in tact. For instance, if a marriage is violated by adultery the offended spouse can choose to forgive. But if the offender is welcomed back without submitting to the demands of acceptability then the acceptance is worthless and the offense will likely be repeated and continue.

Gen. 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you….

In our text Cain’’s sacrifice was wrong and Able’’s was right. Understandably Cain was upset. But it was the way he handled his emotions that turned him into humanity’s first cursed murderer. God told him to simply correct his sacrifice by offering the ‘acceptable’ sacrifice, and he’ would be accepted. In other words, be acceptable and you’’ll be accepted.  That was God’s requirement.  Simple. But Cain was a product of the same twisted reasoning that pollutes our culture today: “I want acceptance and I’’ll kill the achiever if I can’’t get it.” Goofed up parents are forever in the Principal’’s Office (sometimes with a lawyer), demanding that their misbehaving child be extended the same privilege of acceptance as the achievers. So rather than amend his offering, Cain went out and killed his brother, thinking this would even the playing field, with competition being eliminated. Cain was wrong and for his actions he received rejection as a murderer. He got what he earned for himself.

Cain was blinded by the craving for acceptance instead of being motivated by the desire for acceptability. But there is a positive spot in this story. When Cain’’s performance was unacceptable God didn’t automatically reject him. He simply explained the needed correction and gave Cain a ‘do-over’. God desires to accept us and sent His Son Jesus, to bless us with acceptance. He did this by performing the ‘acceptable work’ that was necessary on our behalf – that which we could not do for ourselves. We have but to acknowledge and accept it. He then empowers us to live acceptably. And when we fail, His acceptable work on our behalf is ever available.

Eph. 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Tomorrow we’ll share more on this truth, so until then……

Stay On The Path!