Acceptance is a very important factor in living the life that we are meant to live.  There are two types of acceptance.  Both types are very important if we wish to live our lives in a forward motion.  Not having acceptance can keep us from moving forward and ultimately keeps us from living the life that we are meant to live.  

The first type of acceptance is the easier of the two.  We have to learn to accept everyone in our lives.  Even if they believe differently or live a different life than us, we have to accept them.  We cannot truly love someone and value him or her as being part of our lives if we do not accept him or her.  Now, I am not saying that we have to agree with them all the time or even condone their behavior, but we have to accept them for who they are.  We have to be there for them and support them in anyway that we can, even if it makes us a little uncomfortable.  We should also be able to expect the same thing from them.  This is very important if the person is a part of our family, but it also important in our circle of friends.  Jesus accepted all types of people, and our goal should be to be more Christ-like, so we should try hard to accept people despite our differences.  

The second type of acceptance is a little harder to achieve.  We have to accept the things that happen to us in our lives, both the good and the bad.  The good is a no brainer.  It is easy to accept the good things that come our way, but we also have to accept the bad things too.  There are so many terrible things that happen to people in this life.  We have to deal with death, the breakup of a marriage, or the loss of a home or a job.  All of these events are terrible and can be life altering.  We struggle to understand why they happen.  We cannot believe that God would allow them to happen to us.  We question Him and want answers.  We pray about them and expect results, and when we do not get the results that we want, we think that God is not listening and we begin to lose our faith in Him.  We want to control every aspect of our lives and when we cannot do that we become frustrated and disillusioned.  

Most of us have been told all of our lives that God has a plan for us and He knows best.  That is easy to accept when things are going smoothly, but when things get rough and events happen that cause us to lose someone or something that we love, we cannot see God’s hand in it.  Sometimes, God’s hand is not in it, but He can bring us through it and use it to make us better people.  I believe that God would never lead us through something if He knew that we would not make it to the other side.  While we are struggling, He is always with us.  We may not feel Him, but He is there.  We have to get to the point that we accept the situation for what it is.  We have to accept that we cannot change it and decide to live through it.  

You may be thinking, “How can I do that?”  To tell you the truth, I am asking myself the very same question right now as I write this.  I guess it comes down to a very simple yet often difficult concept—trust.  We have to trust God.  We have to believe that He can lead us through the struggle.  We have to realize that we cannot change it on our own.  We have to pray that God will give us the strength to endure the pain that we are in, and that He will either change the situation or that He will give us the strength to accept the it.  

You see, we cannot have peace and hope if we do not have trust.  Accepting the bad in our lives is a step to having that peace and hope.  I am not saying that we should stop trying to make the situation different or that we should stop praying for a better outcome, but it cannot consume us.  We have to trust that God is in control.  He is whether we believe that or not, so I believe we would be better off if we would just believe it.  Instead of praying that the situation would change, maybe we should be praying that God grant us peace and the ability to accept the things that we do not understand.  It is a lot like the serenity prayer.  It may be just a prayer that we have heard all of our lives, but the words are very powerful.  Once we accept things for how they are, I truly believe that the peace and hope we have been promised will come to us and our lives can once again move forward with peace in our hearts, and PEACE MATTERS.