Acceptance

The second thing love does, after seeing a person clearly, is to accept them unconditionally.

That doesn’t make love blind to flaws, it doesn’t mean it has to put up with abuse or continue loving and caring for the person forever, nor that it won’t judge through love’s supportive filter or ask for change. Those decisions are separate and they come later.

It simply means that love sees what “is” and grows from there because THAT is the best way to foster happiness, joy, well being, and spiritual growth.

The opposite of unconditional acceptance is measuring. An unloving person may measure your value in terms of attractiveness, prestige, wealth and possessions, talent and ability, social power, or even what brand of clothing you wear and where you live.

A loving person may notice and assess such things, but their core reason for valuing you comes from a) your intrinsic worth as a person and b) their ability to love. That’s where the joy comes from, and outer trappings are cheap trinkets in comparison.

Unconditional acceptance is liberating and joyful, and it turns you into a happier, more lovable person. It allows you to enjoy people as they are rather than feeling continually frustrated and disappointed.

Measuring value, also known as “judging,” is tiring and small, and it turns on yourself like a wild dog as you tend to judge others by the same standard that you judge them. “Righteous judgment” means to see a person through the eyes of love and desiring their happiness and growth.

SLIDER

Where do you fall on the “Acceptance” love slider?

1: If you don’t wear the right clothes, drive the right car, and have the right look, don’t expect me to waste my time on you! 3: I’m too busy judging myself and trying to blend in to judge anyone else! 5: I try to accept most people, but people with different lifestyles make me uncomfortable and conflicting opinions are mostly bad and wrong. 7: I say live and let live – which means I don’t approve of drunk driving and other unhealthy life choices. 10: I disagree with lots of opinions out there, but I still love and wish the best for the people who hold them.

11. Going to extremes: unconditional acceptance of everyone doesn’t remove your responsibility to seek to understand what’s good and bad for people who you have any responsibility for, and to seek to understand such questions in the public square. If you accept everyone unconditionally because you’re afraid to make waves, then that’s not motivated by love, is it?

FOR DISCUSSION

Who do you find easiest to accept as they are? What kind of person, action, or opinion is more difficult to accept? What might others accept and not accept about you?

When you disagree with someone’s choices, how does that affect your ability to love them?

HOMEWORK

Pick someone in the news who you disagree with, then spend a while looking for the good in them and caring about their well being.

Next time you encounter someone you don’t feel prone to accept, seek to understand them better rather than judging them.

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