“Faith is accepting your acceptance.” – Paul Tillich
If that statement doesn’t make your mind explode upon first reading it, you should really look at it again! In other words, Tillich is saying to have faith is to accept that you are accepted. That sure seems easy enough. Or does it?
If you’re anything like me, how many times have you thought any of the following?: “Can this really be this good? It seems too good to be true. What’s the catch? When does the floor fall out from under me?” Perhaps this is just caution – our way of protecting ourselves so we don’t get burned again, but I find it somewhat sad that we have become jaded enough we cannot always see a good thing purely as a good thing.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe how fully we are all accepted by God. “Am I really wholly forgiven and accepted just as I am?” Sometimes I even manage to convince myself that it’s too good to be true – that I cannot possibly be welcomed and accepted by God Almighty. “There’s no way He could forgive me for the things I’ve done! I must do something else in order to set things right. What does He want from me?”
The truth is that we are accepted and forgiven, not because of anything we’ve done to set the situation right, but rather because of the merciful and gracious God who wants to have a relationship with us. I think that’s what Tillich is talking about. Actually accepting the Good News as good news is difficult and requires faith – faith and trust enough to let go and believe that we are accepted and loved in spite of what things we’ve done. Faith is accepting and conceding that God can and does uphold His promise of forgiveness.
As hard as it is to believe that there’s nothing special I need to do to earn God’s love and forgiveness, I find immeasurable comfort knowing that I am loved and forgiven no matter how much I manage to goof up! The act of accepting our acceptance is something we need to practice every day. We need to remind ourselves that we are God’s beloved children even if we have made mistakes or bad decisions. We should hold tightly to this message especially when nothing seems to be going our way. Maybe even more importantly, we need others to speak this word of comfort to us when we cannot seem to see it for ourselves.
© 2009. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.