Note to everyone reading…this article was initially written for a specific audience – the teens at the church where I serve. But I think it can benefit everyone. Thanks for checking in to our conversation.
Where does acceptance come from?
I’m not talking about the many sources we seek out in our never ending quest for acceptance – that list could be quite extensive.
I mean this – what is the root of our need for acceptance?
- Why do we as humans feel the need to be accepted by other people?
- Why do we crave this sense of belonging?
- What is the reasoning behind our unparalleled desire to fit in with a group?
- What is the deep, underlying cause for people to validate themselves by an external standard system created by other people?
- We as people can be driven to unexplainable lengths to find acceptance…but why?
Acceptance amongst other people in this world is a moving target; you’ll never truly hit it. And when you finally do find acceptance with people, they will eventually disappoint you; people will let you down. And then you’ll be back to searching for acceptance from another source.
This isn’t a blanket condemnation on all people as totally unreliable let-downs. You will likely have some people in your life that you become very close with – a best friend, sibling, or spouse – that you can trust and rely on. You could say that you are “accepted” by these people. But even in close, trusting relationships, there are disappointments and breeches of trust, even if they are accidental.
And these relationships where we find someone we can trust are actually part of the problem of us finding true acceptance. We as humans are created by God with a need for validation, identity, and acceptance. We were designed by God for a relationship with Him. We were made to find our acceptance in God. BUT most people never find their acceptance in God.
Without God, there is a major void in our lives. And we will endlessly attempt to fill the void with anything that demonstrates the smallest glimmer of acceptance for us.
Have you ever considered why the social issues that we have in our world exist? Teen pregnancies, drug epidemics, dangerous trendy challenges, school shootings, romanticized suicides, pornography infatuations, social media obsessions, cyber bullying, cutting, addictions of all kinds…..the list goes on and on. Much of the problem can be traced back to a longing for acceptance from people.
When we don’t find acceptance where we are supposed to find it, we will search anywhere and everywhere else until we find it.
And this endless hunt for acceptance is killing a generation – literally.
True acceptance is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Everything else in our lives should be rooted in this relationship with Jesus. Jesus never changes, and He is always faithful. You can always count on Him. He will never let you down. If you set Him as your number one priority in life, you will seek pleasing Him as the foundation to all the other areas of your life. A deep, meaningful relationship with Christ must be the base of everything we do.
Even Christians who state that they have known God for years can battle feeling accepted. This happens when they stop building on their relationship with God. We wander away from God and then sense the need for acceptance again. So we reach out to other things such as relationships, jobs, hobbies, money for acceptance. And we may find it temporarily.
But what happens when one of these areas falls apart? What happens when the thing that I have found acceptance in and have now placed my identity in suddenly vanishes? I’m left floundering, seeking, searching, grasping for any sliver of acceptance that I can obtain. And when I feel that I’ve hit the bottom, I will do anything for that feeling of acceptance.
If Christ is our foundation, there will always be stability in our lives, even if the other things in our lives fall apart.
There is nothing wrong with finding fulfillment in the things that God has designed us to excel in. This can be a talent, job, hobby, or relationship. You should be the best spouse you can be; you should work hard and find joy in doing what God has enabled you to do. You should develop and enjoy the talents and skills that God has given you. But do not seek to find ultimate acceptance in these things; they can change or be lost for some unforeseen reason. Root your acceptance in a relationship with Christ, then build these other things on that relationship. Because Jesus is unchanging, we will never be lacking by finding our acceptance in Him.
True acceptance is found in a deep, meaningful, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And we are accepted by Christ because of Him and what He has done for us, not because of who we are or what we do.