THE ACCEPTANCE OF OTHERS
The Acceptance of Others is necessary for our very survival and our happiness. Back in the Stone Age, people learned the value of staying together as a group. It was easier to protect the clan, gather food, hunt animals, and fight off enemies. In our earlier years as children, our families played an important part in our survival by taking care of our necessities. If our families were unable to do this, then the community or government stepped in.
The meaning of acceptance, in the context of other people, means a positive welcome, a feeling of belonging, and approval. We normally get this from our families, friends, schools, churches, and other community groups. This does not happen for every one. Part of acceptance is being capable or worthy of being included. More often than not, people decide who belongs and who does not. The rules change all the time depending on the severity of the infractions, who the person is, and how much power, money or influence he has.
We, as human beings, have our greatest difficulties in learning how to accept other people who are different from us. The more differences we can see, the higher the possibility of exclusion. We also exclude people for mistakes they make or pain they inflict upon us. Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He wants us to open our hearts to love and acceptance of others by allowing space for communication and understanding to take place so that compromise, forgiveness, and resolution becomes possible. We learn over time to either value the differences that exist through experiences we have with them, give it time so we can both grow, let it go and put it in God’s hands, or we exclude them.
Sharon L. Adler once said, ” Before you can live, a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, the opinions of others at that moment in time, or the outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally realize that truth, then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others.. From that point on, you will finally be free.”