Loving Acceptance

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37.

We’ve often heard the idea that conversion is an immediate, complete, absolute, final change of life—that we’ll have no more problems from then on, no more weaknesses, no more failures. And when problems do arise, then we think we haven’t really been converted. But remember this: conversion is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit on the human heart, producing a change of attitude toward God; instead of being against Him, now you’re for Him. Conversion creates in the person a new capacity for knowing and loving God—it’s the turning-around point, the beginning, but that’s all it is. And we’re told we need to be converted every day, not just once and for all.

The first time Mary of Magdala heard Jesus speaking, she couldn’t believe the words of comfort. Religious leaders accepted only the good, moral churchgoers—not sinners, harlots, and thieves! It was almost more than she could stand. With her broken heart, she pressed through the crowd after the outdoor service, and right there in the open, she poured out her heart to Jesus and told Him of her burden. Jesus accepted her. He prayed for her with strong prayers, seeking His Father’s presence in her behalf. And Mary was converted right there on the spot. Her load of sin and guilt left her. Conversion, as usually happens, came when she was desperate enough to give up on herself entirely.

We’d like to say that the story ends there. But the truth is that Mary failed, evidently shortly after Jesus left town. She stayed where she was, the same crowd was around, the same voices whispered to her in the marketplace. When Jesus was not in town, she found it difficult to hold on to the peace she had found from hearing His words and from being with Him. But she still had that change of attitude toward God, and her capacity for knowing Him was still down inside. And the next time Jesus came through town, she poured out her troubles to Him, and again He worked in her behalf. He accepted her again. The Bible records that Jesus cast out seven devils from her. But He always accepted her, as He always accepts anyone who comes to Him. It was in this attitude of loving acceptance that Mary’s heart was broken anew.

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