The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalm 6:9
In growing up, my mother often spoke of acceptance. Her focus on acceptance was different than most others. She was a prayerful individual. Day in and day out, she prayed fervently. Many times her prayers were on behalf of others. The exciting aspect of her prayers involved a focus on counter-cultural thoughts and deeds. You see, we were a taboo family. Taboo in that people often stared at my mother because she was in a wheelchair. She couldn’t walk because of her Multiple Sclerosis. Even at a young age, I had to do the taboo task of taking my mother to the bathroom. Not the greatest pleasure of a young boy under the age of ten. But we were also a taboo family because we impacted culture and walked alongside sinners because we were sinners ourselves. At the age of 6, we decided to try and re-direct culture. Re-directing culture for us was trying to influence unwed mothers with a depth of love for them so they could regain esteem and get back into the working world.
We would advertise in the newspaper, “unwed mothers welcome to apply to help our family.” We were crying for mercy to somehow take care of seven children, a mother with Multiple Sclerosis, and most recently the two youngest children needing to be raised as twin infants. We were desperate. God answered our prayer when we cried out. A mother with Multiple Sclerosis cried out for healing. This healing though wasn’t for herself or her maladies. It was healing of past sin by others. This past sin resulted in the situation of an unexpected pregnancy. Unwed mothers were encouraged to avoid an abortion and engage the sanctity of life. The counter-culture effort here included bringing the unwed mothers with our family when we were out in public. Not only did my mother get strange stares because of her disability, but the unwed mothers turned even more heads than a person in a wheelchair. Acceptance by others wasn’t a high priority for our family because what we were doing to discourage abortions was taboo.
I’ve often thought of how we seek acceptance from others. We seek acceptance into cliques of friends. We seek acceptance into churches. We seek acceptance into colleges. We even seek acceptance into the strangest circles including positions of power, positions of influence, and positions of importance. Who or what are you trying to be accepted by? How can you shift your focus of acceptance from humanity’s acceptance to God’s acceptance? This verse clearly calls us to cry out for mercy. And in turn the Lord will accept us. Who do you need to cry out for? The downtrodden need mercy too. Have you ever thought about crying out for those that are not part of accepted circles? Who else do you know that needs mercy? Because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we should acknowledge the daily need for mercy. Ask God for mercy to look inside ourselves and identify shortcomings and not project these pitfalls on others. Consider crying out for mercy to see others as being created in God’s image so we can live more redemptively. Mercy, grace, and truth are evident when you do not let other’s stares make you feel unaccepted. A focus on God’s acceptance is a rarity that is first accessible when we cry out for mercy.
Prayer: Lord, help us to cry out for mercy. Help us to acknowledge that this mercy isn’t about man’s acceptance. Help us to see this mercy is to give us eyes to see our own shortcomings and that staring at others isn’t the best means for projecting our weaknesses. Give us your acceptance God that is best found in supporting others who need redemption as much as we do. Thank you for allowing us to give you dominion over all areas of our thoughts, deeds, words, and actions. Amen.