Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.1 Peter 3:8
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.Romans 15:5-7
As in yesterday’s passage from Luke, the indifferent walk by those who are not like them. Perhaps the indifference arises from simple tribalism, or from upbringing, history, or similar soil. In order to pass to acceptance – which is a small, but necessary step toward unity – we need to move beyond the comfort of always seeing the “other.” Acceptance means that we begin to recognize ourselves in those to whom we once gave little regard. We see commonalities and shared beliefs. We perceive common struggles, joys, experiences of God. Above all, we see the Spirit’s work in their lives and in their traditions.
Acceptance is yet one more step that ascends on the power of humility. It says that I and we are not the only, not the best, not the uniquely favored servants or children of the God who has sheep from many folds (John 10:16). It is a divinely inspired embrace of other believers as adopted sons and daughters of the eternal Father. Acceptance welcomes someone who is dissimilar from us because we see that we belong to the same family. Acceptance is that first declaration that what unites is greater than what separates.
Heavenly Father, you have made us brothers and sisters in your son Jesus Christ. We pray that through our mutual sharing of the goods of our traditions, we may grow in respect for one another and so grow together to be true disciples of your son our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.