What is Acceptance?

Joseph understood rejection. Although he was his father’s favourite son, his brothers betrayed Joseph. Imagine Joseph as a teenager – he suddenly finds himself jerked out of his comfortable home, only to be carted off to a foreign country to live as a stranger … to live as a slave! The grief of losing his family must have been frightening. Still, Joseph accepted the will of God in his life, which enabled him to accept the sovereignty of God over his life. In spite of one betrayal after another, Joseph refused to become bitter. Instead, he accepted his circumstances by humbly entrusting himself to God.

As years passed, Joseph rose to a position of highest respect and power. When his brothers journeyed to Egypt in search of grain, they found themselves at the mercy of Joseph. Immediately, he knew who they were – but they didn’t know who he was!

Did he take revenge and refuse to give them grain? Did he send them off with grain, but not acknowledge them as brothers? Did he extend his hand of help, but insist they bow before him?

Joseph refused resentment – he accepted his brothers despite their past betrayal. By inviting them to become part of his life once again, they knew his acceptance was not merely conditional, but rather unconditional. And, in truth, his acceptance was possible only because of the condition of his heart – his heart of true forgiveness, which allowed him to focus on the future, and his heart of true commitment, which enabled him to let the past stay in the past. (Read Genesis 37:12–29 and chapters 41–45.)

To accept someone means to approve or to receive that one favourably or willingly. We should receive and value others because of their God-given worth.

  • Your acceptance of others is based on the disposition of your heart, which, in turn, is expressed through your attitude and actions.
  • The Greek word “proslambano” means “to accept, receive, welcome.”
  • Jesus Christ provides the supreme example of acceptance. The Bible says we are to accept others the same way Christ accepts us.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)