Accepting someone else’s reality can be difficult; especially when someone else’s reality does not jive with our own. What are we to do? How are we to behave when we see what we deem to be unacceptable behavior, and/or hear inappropriate speech?
People’s perceptions (realities) and points of origin will differ, resulting in a need for diversity; the accepting of another’s reality. The need for diversity could stem from a myriad of origin points: race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, culture – just to name a few.
We must understand and accept another person’s reality, to practice the virtue of acceptance. No one is asking you to condone sinful behavior. However, we must remember to love our neighbor as Christ loves each of us. As Saint Augustine originally coined in Letter 211 of his writings, we are to have “love for mankind and hatred of sins.” To do so is acting in a Christ-like manner.
Here is a perfect example: A family member recently told my family that he is gay. Odds are, we all know someone who has a same-sex attraction. So, you will most likely relate to my experience. Do I love this family member? You bet! I love him immensely – always have and always will! Do I condone same-sex relations? Absolutely not! No one in the family would ever ask me to condone what the Church teaches as a grave sin. Bottom line is that you don’t un-love someone you love, simply because the person’s reality differs from your own.
We must refrain from allowing Satan the upper hand with our words, thoughts and deeds. Racial slurs, religious persecution, gender bias, derogatory sexual orientation comments, and nationality/cultural prejudices are all the work of Satan. Christ wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means accepting our neighbor’s reality, as we would accept our own.
We’ve talked about accepting ourselves in the previous post. Today we discussed accepting others by loving our neighbor as ourselves. In our next reflection we’ll answer the following question: Do you accept God in your life? Don’t miss it!