Should People Conform before they are Accepted?

A fundamental differences in approach between the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and Jesus Himself was that the religious leaders demanded anyone wanting to come to God to clean up their act first. Jesus on the other hand, encouraged them to come to God as they were, and then allow God to change them from the inside out.

Religionists today segregate themselves from people outside their religion, especially those considered to be on the outside of the family of God, until they “make a decision for God”. On the other hand, Jesus ate with them and befriended them, went to their parties and weddings, accepted them relationally and emotionally, before they made a decision about His life-changing message.

Should we not give people a sense of “belonging” even if we deem them to be “nonbelievers.” When people go through periods of doubt or disillusionment, and do things that religion deems “non Christian”, they should not be ostracized, departmentalized, de-socialized, despised or demonized by the "Christianized".

When conformity is demanded before acceptance, a harmful atmosphere develops that breeds inspection, condemnation and rejection which is not an aspect of God’s Grace message.

Acceptance, love and grace provide the context for spiritual development, not exclusion, rejection, condemnation and judgment.

Acceptance should come before conformity!

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