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Being accepted is one way a teacher is automatically an example.  The church has believed in them and approved them to be a teacher of a particular class or group.   It is a special privilege to teach a group and be an example of someone who has been accepted by others.  It is also a great responsibility.   Just like every teacher has been accepted by their peers or someone in authority to allow them to teach, everyone in the group needs to be accepted.  It is the teacher's responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to create an atmosphere ensuring everyone’s acceptance.  Granted, some behaviors and attitudes in a group will not be tolerated, but when people are spiritually hungry and demonstrate a spirit of teachableness, they deserve to be accepted.  If there is one thing every person desires, it is to belong and to be accepted, so let’s be examples of being accepted and accepting others.  

Jesus was our greatest role model as we endeavor to accept others.  Jesus accepted the little children; He accepted the sick, the sinful, the demon possessed and ultimately you and me.  One of the harshest forms of torture is isolation, which is not being accepted.  We must always be willing to accept others and, if need be, openly defend them if they are not being accepted by individuals in the group.  People long to be accepted by both God and others. 

The experience of being accepted and accepting others is a road we all must travel as His disciples.  In The Shaking of the Foundations, philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich wrote,  “Sometimes . . . a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying:  ‘You are accepted.’  You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you . . . do not try to do anything now . . . do not seek for anything . . . do not perform anything.  Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!”  He goes on to say, “If that happens . . . we experience grace."*

Only as the open arms of acceptance are extended in a class or group, can the nourishments of His graces be handed out.

May you be a vessel to distribute this grace.

*Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations, SCM Press, 1949, page 162. 

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