"Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." Romans 15:7 (NIV)
In our world today, being accepted for who you really are is a rarity. If I know one thing about teenagers, it is that you are exhausted. Exhausted with always having to worry about what you wear, what you say, how you act, if your social media accounts are up to par, and if you are being seen with the right people. I’m getting tired just thinking about all the pressure, to measure up, you are dealing with on a daily, and even, moment by moment basis. How nice would it be, if you really could, just be yourself? No pressure to conform to what the “so called” newest trends are, what the “In” (whoever they are) crowd is currently promoting, and what your peers are thinking or saying about you. That kind of community is exactly what God desires for His church. The church family is supposed to be a place of unconditional love and acceptance. People are supposed to peek in and see a family of Believers who are freely loving one another, with no strings attached. The only peer pressure that should exist in the church, is the pressure to conform to the likeness of Jesus. In the church the “In” crowd is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, commanding, praying, and encouraging us to be like them. When we truly accept one another, we are living in a way that is totally contradictory to culture and the world we live in. People should see our genuine love for one another and think, “There is something different about these people who follow Jesus. Look how they love one another.” And the result will be an openness to Christ and the Gospel. How I pray that our youth would live like this, asking Jesus to give them the strength to resist the pressure to conform this world, and instead conform to the image of Jesus and lovingly accept one another. Then John 13:35 will become a reality, which says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."