From the President … Fall 2022
by Colleen Charsky
Our ministry them is “Let the Walls Fall Down” and our mission focus of “Real Acceptance” complement one another. Without real acceptance it is virtually impossible to break down walls and keep them down.
One of ABC’s biggest assets is our diversity. I have been serving on the ABWM-NYS for over 15 years. One of the greatest things to witness is that we have individuals from across the state representing ABC that range from what most would refer to as conservative to moderate to liberal theology. The beauty of serving on the board is that we put aside our theological differences to promote and provide vital, relevant programing that can empower women and girls to live their life to the fullest while growing in their faith of Jesus Christ.
We need to create safe places for people to be accepted as who they are. These safe places will provide an opportunity where we can share openly and freely without fear of condemnation. I can share and be listened to and you can share and be listened to. No comments, no praise, no judgement. If I believe you are wrong, I allow the Holy Spirit to convict you and if you believe I am wrong, you trust the Holy Spirit will convict me. Most of us do not respond well to negativity. I know I do not respond well to someone else’s loud, in my face, telling me I am doing something wrong. If I feel threatened, I will do one of three things…shut down, lash back, or flee. If a person does any of these, not only have you had no impact on me, but you probably had a negative impact on me. How much more will this be for nonbelievers. Our real acceptance will be a light in a dark world.
What I do respond to, is the Holy Spirits gentle promptings, nudges, and convictions that I am not in line with God’s will. Now sometimes that may include a close trusted friend or relative being gently open and honest about examining my actions or beliefs. But the reason, I accept that I may be wrong in my thinking, actions or beliefs is because I know the person challenging me LOVES me and has my best interest at heart. But it takes a long time to build a relationship like that. It is our job to accept people, it is God’s job to change them for HIS will, HIS purpose.
God in His grace accepts us as we are, but He can see us as we should be. People are called to accept Jesus Christ and the message of the gospel. We are to respond to being accepted by Christ by accepting one another. Real acceptance is looking at others through the eyes of Christ and accepting them as he accepted me while I was still a sinner.
Being real is accepting someone where they are in that moment, seeing them thru God’s eyes. Recognizing that they are someone’s daughter, mother, son, father, sister, brother…but most importantly they are a child of God and for that reason only, God doesn’t suggest or even ask…He commands that we show love to them.
I encourage you to consider how acceptance has benefited your life in the past, and how by practicing it according to Christ’s example, you can powerfully impact the world for Christ.