Here’s a quick overview of this free lesson: There are things about ourselves and others that we struggle to accept. God chose you because He loves you for who you are. Just as He made allowances for your faults, He expects you to make allowances for the faults of others.
Before you view the lesson below, watch this quick video I put together sharing why this message is so important for students to grasp, and my own struggle with acceptance as a young person.
Youth Group Lesson on Acceptance
Bottom Line: There are things about ourselves and others that we struggle to accept. God chose you because He loves you for who you are. Just as He made allowances for your faults, He expects you to make allowances for the faults of others.
Bible: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT)
Room upfront for four-eight people to work side by side at tables
Divide contestants into pairs. One partner will be blindfolded. The other will not be allowed to make any noises whatsoever. During the allotted time (1-2 minute rounds recommended) the partners must work together despite their individual “flaws” to have the blindfolded person draw the items listed on a sheet of paper that only his/her partner can see. The non-blindfolded partner helps the blindfolded partner by giving advice and direction, but cannot do the actual drawing him/herself. The Team that finishes drawing the most amount of items wins. In the event of a tie, the leader (or a panel of judges) can judge the quality artwork to determine the winner.
Items to Draw
The capital letter “G”
In this game, students with different “flaws” were forced to work together to overcome them. Though they probably wanted to, they couldn’t change their partner’s flaws just as they couldn’t change their own. Instead, they had to make “allowances” for them to move on and complete the challenge at hand.
Doesn’t it just stink when there’s something you don’t like, but there’s nothing you can do about it? Sometimes, there are things about ourselves that we wish we could change. Maybe we don’t like our physical appearance.
We just don’t feel like we are attractive enough like we don’t live up to the unrealistic expectations of popular culture. Sometimes there is something that we wished that we could be better at, but no matter how hard we try, we just don’t improve, at least not in a way that satisfies.
What about when your issue is with someone else? Maybe there’s a person or group of people in your life with whom you just can’t get along.
It could be an attitude issue or perhaps this person treats you poorly. In the scenarios I have described, the circumstances might be different, but they point to the same unfortunate truth: we can’t always make things (people) the way we want.
Sure, we can do our best to minimize the problem through fashion choices, avoiding the activity we struggle at or ignore the people who bother us, but they are still there. Life is often outside of our ability to control.
That’s just… well… Life. Cheerful topic, huh? Don’t you wish I could just give you the secret answer that will solve all of life’s problems? In truth, I can, but it may not be the solution you are hoping for. The solution boils down to one word—acceptance.
I’m going to start with the second scenario first. Take a moment to close your eyes. Who is the person or persons in your life that you are having a hard time accepting?
Why do you have a hard time accepting this person(s)? It is entirely possible that you have every reason to dislike this person. He/she might treat you poorly, might do things to you that Jesus would frown upon. That, however, doesn’t change God’s solution.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT)
Let’s look at a few key points in this verse.
God chose you to be holy.
The Creator of the Universe looked down at the billions of people that have walked the earth since He formed it and said, “I choose you.” That’s pretty amazing. He chose you for a purpose—to be holy. Because of this He expects us to live a certain way—to be merciful, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.
Make allowances for each other’s faults.
People aren’t perfect. If you are willing to be honest, neither are you. Everyone has faults. As much as we would love to be able to fix them, learning to accept others requires us to make allowances—make room—for other people’s faults.
Forgive like Jesus.
Finally, the key to learning how to accept others is to forgive like Jesus. We could spend a lifetime describing the ways that Jesus has forgiven us. Let’s hone in on just a couple. First, Jesus forgave when we didn’t deserve it. The just reward for our sinful lives (yes, we all sin) is death—an eternity separated from God. Instead, He forgives everyone who follows Him. Second, He forgives and forgets. Boy, isn’t that the hardest part of forgiveness? If we are to learn to accept others, we must forgive them even if they don’t deserve it. We must also not continue to hold it against them for how they treated us.
I decided to finish with this because, in my experience, accepting one’s self is the hardest thing to do. We all have flaws, but even though we know this, it is hard to get past the flaws we see in ourselves. Popular culture often doesn’t help with this.
For someone to truly live up to the “ideals” we see in the media, he/she would have to be obscenely rich, have access to the best plastic surgeons in the world, and be willing to sell his/her very soul to achieve “perfection.”
Here’s the saddest truth of all: there are plenty of people in the world right now with the means to do just that, and guess what, they are some of the most unhappy people alive.
The truth is that God doesn’t make mistakes. He created you and loves you for who you are right now. Next time you have a chance, look in a mirror and study the person looking back at you.
This person is so amazing in God’s eyes that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son to brutal torture so that He could spend an eternity with you.
Let’s look at a few things the Bible says about how He sees you.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalms 139:14 (NIV)
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 (NLT)
Look at some of those key words: God’s masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made.
Those words describe you. God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you.
You’re not perfect. You may not be the person you’d like to be, but never forget that God would do it all over again just for you.
You are His masterpiece.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
God has already accepted you.
Now, it’s on you to start accepting yourself.
Small Group Discussion Questions
Which is harder for you, accepting others or accepting yourself? Why?
How can you start making allowances for other people’s faults starting today?
What does it mean to forgive like Jesus?
What does it mean to be “fearfully and wonderfully made”?
What are some ways that you feel God has shown you that He loves you just the way you are today?
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