Summary: adapted from Steve Higgs at Merridian Christian
Peace in the church, Live @ peace series
Eric A. Snyder, Farwell Church of Christ
April 28 2002
It is not our first instinct to accept those that are different than us.
This is illustrated the best in Junior High School.
Have you ever noticed that junior highers have a label or description for everyone.
For instance, if you are really good at sports but not very good at school you are a jock.
If you are a girl and you come from a well to do family you are a snob.
If you look a certain way and are good at school you are a nerd.
It’s like a food chain, and if you’re like me you wanted to work your way up that chain.
Who hasn’t gone through the awkward experience of trying to be something your not.
You join a sports team despite you’re hatred for that sport.
You start to buy different clothes.
You comb your hair differently.
You try to act and be something that will help you gain some sort of popularity, which is the junior high term for acceptance.
Then junior highers become senior highers and senior highers become adults and we realize that we no longer have to alter ourselves to be accepted, right?
I’ve seen a guy work an obscene amount of hours trying to gain the acceptance of his boss and co workers.
I’ve seen a woman bounce from guy to guy trying to find some kind of acceptance.
I’ve seen people trying to find acceptance in peer groups using drugs, alcohol, and sex.
Here’s the problem: finding acceptance in your work, finding acceptance in a guy you barely know, finding acceptance in a beer can is easy way out because what you have found is not true acceptance.
There can’t be acceptance without understanding.
If you get along with someone you don’t know it’s not true acceptance because you don’t really know each other.
Scott Peck in his book the Road Less Traveled tells about how easy it is to find love and acceptance in the eyes of your pet.
Because a pet can’t talk back, and you can place your own feelings and emotions on the pet and just go about your day like everything’s perfect.
People talk back and when you enter into community with them conflict is going to happen, because that is how we are wired.
Some of you have had horrible experiences with community so far.
You have not experienced the acceptance that I will be talking about today.
You’ve experienced the opposite of that, rejection
You’ve experienced the loss of community in your marriage (where a trust was violated or a divorce happened).
Some of you have had horrible experiences in churches with community, where your trust was violated, maybe things fell apart and you got badly injured.
Some of you have friends you haven’t spoken to in years because of broken community. All these things happen because we are dealing with people, and people aren’t perfect, and sometimes those closest to us reject us instead of accepting us. What it does is it makes you a little gun-shy to enter into community again, and it makes you apprehensive of ever sharing your true feelings and beliefs. But sharing our thoughts and feelings is part of the ground work of community.