Thursday, November 3, 2011


I say the word "unacceptable" a lot.  Especially to my children.  "It is unacceptable to talk to your sister that way." "It is unacceptable to leave the lid off of the toothpaste overnight so it dries up and leaves sticky, icky goo for the next person who uses it....."  I'm pretty sure I overuse the word - and I know I use it inappropriately a lot of the time.  Like the toothpaste thing - it's annoying!  But unacceptable?  Probably not.

This week, our Leadership Team talked about the word unacceptable.  The question was posed to us, "What is unacceptable in this world?"  The idea behind this question was to define and clarify why we are doing what we are doing.  If we start with what is absolutely unacceptable, then we have our 'why' parameters.  For example - if we believe violence in any form is unacceptable - that gives us a 'why' (or a reason) to plan a sermon series or teach classes centered around what Jesus has to say about peace.  

Here are some of the unacceptables we identified:
  • There are people who have not heard the radical, hopelessness-obliterating, world-turning good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  (this was number one for all of us)
  • Selfishness
  • Intolerance
  • Hopelessness
  • Poverty
  • Apathy
We had a huge long list of unacceptables, and then we tried to narrow them down to three so we could really focus in as a team on what is unacceptable to us, and how we are going to work and plan and vision to eradicate the unacceptables in the world.  Lofty goal?  Yes.  But it would be unacceptable not to do so.

When Jesus walked the earth, He also had a huge long list of things that were unacceptable to him.  In fact, the whole reason Jesus came to earth was to turn the unacceptable on its head.  
  • Jesus fed five thousand people because it was unacceptable to Him that people were hungry.
  • Jesus turned over tables of people who were selling things in God's house because it was unacceptable to Him that a Holy place be about anything other than God's love.
  • Jesus healed people who were considered unclean and untouchable by the rest of the world because it was unacceptable to Him that anyone suffer in shame.
  • Jesus embraced the lowly, had dinner parties for notorious criminals, told prostitutes they were valuable to God, and told sad people they were blessed because it was unacceptable to Him that people build walls and draw lines separating one from another when we are all God's good creation.
  • Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead because it was unacceptable to Him that anyone should live a life separated from God's radical, hopelessness-obliterating, world-turning love for each and every one of us.
So I have a question for you.  I'm sure you know what it is by now.  What do you find unacceptable in this world?  Are your unacceptables aligned with Jesus?  How will your life's work be about obliterating that which is unacceptable?  I would love it if you would answer that question in the comments section of this blog!

I love this song - and it is about opening our eyes to that which is unacceptable in this world.


  1. My top three are similar to yours: living without knowing about God's ridiculously huge, never ending love; war, and poverty. And not sharing.

  2. Comment from a reader....."This question seems like it should be easy to answer....until I try and answer it. When I think about it, there is a fine line between unacceptable and intolerance, Is that behavior unacceptable or am I being intolerant? ..really makes me think. I do know that I find it unacceptable when the strong take advantage of the weak, or when people use fame or status as an excuse for bad behavior. I find disrespect of the elderly, property, or authority unacceptable. I find it unacceptable when people pass of situations where they could easily help their neighbor or a stranger. But most of all, I find it unacceptable when, as a parent or a christian, I do something I know is wrong" -

  3. In our daily life, it is unacceptable to not be kind. As a spouse, parent, sister, friend, and teacher--just being kind to the people in our circles goes a long way.