Loving and accepting others
We can learn to love and accept someone without necessarily agreeing with their opinions or endorsing their actions or lifestyle. An important key is learning to see people as individuals. The more we realise that we’re all human and all created by our Father in His image, the easier it is to focus on what we’ve got in common rather than focusing on the differences. When we don’t understand someone else’s motives, views, or personality, it’s easy to assume the worst about them and become irritated and angered by them. But communication and trust go a long way towards increasing our patience and understanding towards those who do things differently from us. We can show patience and understanding by simply asking the right questions. We’re often afraid to ask someone why they think or act the way they do. And if we do ask, we might do it in a way that just increases the fear and hostility that the other person is feeling. If we ask with kindness, or at least in a respectful and gracious manner, we free the person to open up and we get to know them better. Keeping a sense of humour can help smooth things out if there’s disagreement or conflict. Constructive conversations build trust, which increases the chances of more and better conversations to come. The Bible sets the bar high when it comes to loving and accepting others: Paul said, ‘If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal’ (1 Corinthians 13:1 NLT). So let’s make the effort to show patience and understanding to everyone, even those we find difficult to get along with.
Is there someone you struggle to love and accept? Today, if you can, make the decision to start a conversation with them, focusing on the things you’ve got in common. Try to make it a positive interaction for both of you.
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