The Power of Acceptance
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you. So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well/" Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV)
Steven Thompson, from Iowa, often recalls their eldest daughter's deep emotional pain and disappointment when a group of adolescent girls rejected her. Steven suspects if one girl in the group had supported her, she might have been accepted by the whole group. Few of us understand the powerful influences that we can have, either for good or for evil, in group settings.
In Mark 10, we read the story of blind Bartimaeus, who was expendable in the crowd's eyes. But when Jesus showed compassion and respect for him, others began to see Bartimaeus's worth as well. Their rebuking tone changed to one of acceptance because of Jesus' respect for Bartimaeus. They called to Bartimaeus, "Cheer up! On your feet! [Jesus] is calling you."
It takes courage to accept and love those who have been rejected by society. But we are called to follow Jesus' example of showing compassion for all. As we love those whom our peers deem unworthy, it will empower our peers to follow our example.
Prayer: Father God, sometimes it's not easy to accept and love those who are disrespected by others. Through your grace provide us with courage to love all people, in Jesus' name. Amen.