Acceptance digs wells

By Dave Henning / December 26, 2017

“Rejection builds fences.  Acceptance digs wells.”- John Ortberg

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.  And that is what we are! . . .  And what we will be has not yet been made known.”- 1 John 3:1-2

John Ortberg concludes Chapter 11 of I’d Like You More . . . as he tells us that the rabbis in Jesus’ day talked about “building a fence around the law.”  As a result, rabbis took a specific law and extended it out further.  Thus, they created a safe boundary.

However, this fence-building creates rejection.  In contrast, Jesus’ acceptance of the Samaritan woman dug a well of living water.  Jesus offered the Samaritan woman, the poster girl for shame, an acceptance greater than her rejections.  Pastor Ortberg offers these words of encouragement:

“God has an amazing way of taking our biggest mistakes, our biggest wounds, . . . biggest scars, . . . and biggest hurts and using them to enable us to do ministry and become messengers for Jesus with people we never thought we could reach because he’s Jesus.”

In addition, Lewis Smedes notes three conventional human responses to shame:

  1. lowering our ideals to the level of our abilities (our hearts know better)
  2. making ourselves acceptable enough to satisfy the ideals we already have (we can’t make ourselves acceptable)
  3. persuading ourselves we’re just fine the way we are (it’s impossible to convince our consciences – they started the nagging in the first place)

According to Mr. Smedes (Shame and Grace), the only answer centers on “a spiritual experience of grace. . . .  The experience of being accepted is the beginning of healing for the feeling of being unacceptable.”

In conclusion, John reminds us that self-acceptance cannot overcome the power of self-rejection.  Acceptance in the grace of all-knowing love creates freedom.  We need to meet Jesus at the well.

Today’s question: What Bible verses help(ed) you discover Jesus’ acceptance – bigger than your rejections?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The antidote to secret hate – open repair”

About the author

Dave Henning

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