Accept People For Who They Are


In the Gospel Reading today we hear Jesus say to his followers, “You seek me because you have seen the signs…” (John 6: 26) In other words, Jesus is telling his massive following, who goes where he goes, and listen to his preaching, that if he did not perform miracles, they would stop following him. Conversely, he is saying the only reason why they are following him or showing “loyalty” (a special attachment toward someone or something) toward him is because they are getting something out of it—the signs and miracles. Meaning, they are not “accepting” Jesus for Jesus but for what he can provide for them.

We might not think we are like the followers of Jesus; however, when we take a deeper look at our lives, do we accept people for who they are or for who we want them to be through our eyes? Are we treating people in a way that is loving and giving and expecting something in return? I want to examine these two questions even further.

  1. People come in different shapes, sizes, accents, colors, and races. Furthermore, people have different personalities and characteristic traits. Question: are we worried how a certain person will look beside us in the public eye? Certain people don’t fit the cultural norms of what it means to be cool, or socially adaptable, or fit certain cultural norms. As Christians, we are not to buy into these norms. We should, however, be like Christ and not worry about how someone looks or might be different but accept them for who they are, so that our friendship is not superficially based. Otherwise, we will be like the followers of Christ who followed Christ because it made them look good. In fact, I would say, make some unexpected friendships so that we challenge ourselves.

    Even when we think about our marriages, do we want our spouse to be who we want them to be, or are we accepting them for who they are? I would definitely agree that both husband and wife should make changes, for the betterment of the marriage; but marriage does not exist to “completely” change the other so that they fit into a mold that we want them to be in. Change for the better occurs through the mercy and grace of God, not due to our selfish needs and wants. Love accepts and is willing to endure.

  2. In general, we are a giving people, at least in terms of American culture and society. But do we give with an expectation of getting something in return? For example, the followers of Christ followed him because they expected signs and miracles in return. We should ask the question: are we giving, or even doing things for other people with expectations? In other words, don’t keep a record of what you have given others and expect the same in return.

    From a spiritual perspective, are we giving to everyone, despite, race, caste, religion or sexual orientation? We should not discriminate in any way with our giving of the Gospel message. Yes, we should bring people to Christ, and want them to come out of sin but our love and compassion for them should be consistent regardless of their reception to the Gospel message and the way of life that it demands.