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Acceptance Before Repentance

“All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’ But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’”

– Luke 19:7,8

Yesterday, we saw how radical it was that Jesus embraced Zacchaeus, despite the fact that he was a short, crooked tax collector. Even knowing these things, the Lord saw fit to invite Himself over to his house that very day. By extending a hand that said, “I want to get to know you,” He offered a marginalized man a place of belonging, and everything changed. This is because acceptance always precedes repentance. Knowing that he was finally loved for who he was, Zacchaeus’ natural response was to change his ways and right the things he had done wrong. In fact, Jewish law stated that if you had cheated someone, you had to pay them back four times the amount, and this is what he vowed to do. We can only imagine how many people had come pounding on his door through the years saying, “Hey, open up you so and so, I want my money back!” or “You lousy criminal, you need to make this right!” I’m certain he’d been scolded, chewed out, and condemned on numerous occasions, but only after having his worth affirmed in God’s eyes was he set free to turn his life around. This is also true for us today. While it’s tempting to continually remind people of their wrongs, real change happens when we accept others right where they are.

My friend, the best thing you can do to reach those who seem unreachable is to simply get to know them. The Holy Spirit lives within you, and it’s His job to convict and bring transformation — yours is simply to love. By offering the broken, outcast, addicted, and hurting a safe place to rest their soul, your empathy and support might just lift them out of the pit so they can meet the One who offers them a firm place to stand. Jesus is the Rock Eternal, and His righteousness and compassion are powerful enough to draw even the most hardened and lost to His heart of overflowing grace.

Prayer


Jesus, give me eyes to see people who need your love, and give me courage to get to know them.

Reflection


Who in your life needs the Lord? How might you share His love with them?

If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.  

One thought on “Acceptance Before Repentance

  1. Joseph A Sylvester Jr says:

    Love this story today. I am so often blessed by what Pastor Bobby shares.
    May I find a Zaccheaus to show acceptance to, and also recognize any who I have been a guilty Zacchaeus to, today. As Pastor Bobby has taught me a slogan from years ago “Always be looking for this is my chance”. Thank you.

    Joe from Amherst, NH

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