Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. –Romans 15:7
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. –Romans 14:13
Acceptance is simply love in practice. When you love, you accept, when you lack love, you judge. ― Abhijit Naskar
The older I get, the more I believe that the greatest kindness is acceptance. ― Christina Baker Kline
A lot of us go through life not accepting others because they have noticeable flaws and defects. We let the fact that everyone has unlikeable and even dark qualities get in the way of fully accepting them “warts and all.”
Our refusal to accept people as they are is one of the most unloving and unkind things we can do in our relationships with others.
Rejecting others unconsciously puts us in the morally superior position of thinking we’re better than them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our refusal to accept others is often tied to the erroneous notion that if we accept people as they are, we’re saying that their negative qualities are okay. That’s not what accepting others means. Accepting others means that we’re not going to let the fact that they have flaws and defects get in the way of having a relationship with them as a fellow struggler, trying to make their way in life.
Truth be told, we aren’t supposed to like everything about another human being because everything about a person isn’t likable.
Some things about us human beings are not only unlikeable – but deplorable! Nevertheless, we’re supposed to accept people as they are however dark things may be about how they think, feel, and act each day. We’ve heard it a thousand times, but we are to love and accept the sinner, not the sin. And, this applies to ourselves as well. We often refuse to accept ourselves as we are until we eliminate all our imperfections. “I’m only going to accept myself when I am free of all the flaws and defects that have plagued my life” is a common attitude many of us have. Unfortunately, if we are going to refuse to accept ourselves until we get our act together, we are going to wait a very long time.
The painful truth is that we never come anywhere close to getting our act together while we’re here on earth.
Another painful truth is that we often reject and criticize things about others that are true about ourselves. Let me put that differently…
When we criticize and reject another person for their flaws, we probably have the same flaws. For example, I often find myself criticizing selfishness in others when that is something I struggle with.
Accepting our own and other people’s messsedupness doesn’t mean we’re okay with flaws or not going to do anything about them. It just means that we’re not going to spend the rest of our lives postponing self-and-other acceptance until everyone is flaw-free.
None of us are ever going to be flaw-free. We humans simply can’t pull that off. We’ve got to learn how to accept the reality of our own and other people’s fallenness and brokenness while having the courage to work on growing and improving as human beings.
Strangely enough, we sometimes struggle to accept the positive things about people.
If we’re not careful, we let jealousy and envy get in the way of accepting the good qualities others have. Sadly, it can be too threatening to our ego to fully accept and admire the positive qualities people have that we don’t possess. Not good.
Related to this, some of us have a hard time accepting our own good qualities, erroneously thinking that we’re being prideful or arrogant to admit that we have strengths, abilities, talents, positive traits, likable qualities, moral integrity, and the like that we can feel good about. I’ve seen far too many people refuse to accept the upside side of who they are while simultaneously refusing to accept their downside.
We face quite a dilemma has we go through life, and it goes something like this: “Am I going to fully accept others and myself warts and all, or am I going to partially or completely reject myself and others because we’re all so deeply flawed?”
The answer to that question will make or break your relationship with others, your relationship with yourself, and even your relationship with God. God accepts you warts and all, but He can’t have a close relationship with you if you run from Him because you’re a big honking mess of a human being.
Munchkins, I want you to accept others as they are and accept yourself as you are. Please, stop criticizing and rejecting yourself and others just because we’re all fallen. The world is full of nothing but deeply flawed and defective people, every one of whom thirsts to be fully accepted as they are before anyone challenges them to change.
I leave you with this quote by author Robert Greene,
“The most effective attitude to adopt is one of supreme acceptance. The world is full of people with different characters and temperaments. We all have a dark side, a tendency to manipulate, and aggressive desires . . . Some people have dark qualities that are especially pronounced. You cannot change such people at their core, but must merely avoid becoming their victim. You are an observer of the human comedy, and by being as tolerant as possible, you gain a much greater ability to understand people and to influence their behavior when necessary.”
Those are some words to live by.