You can learn to love and accept someone, without necessarily agreeing with their opinions and endorsing their actions or lifestyle. An important key is learning to see people as individuals. The more we realise that despite certain differences we’re all human and all created by our Father in His image, the freer we become to focus on our common needs. When we don’t understand someone else’s motives, views, or personality, it’s easy to assume the worst about them and project irritation and anger.
Communication and trust go a long way towards increasing our patience and understanding towards those who do things differently from us. You can provide these two things in a relationship by simply asking the right questions. Too often we’re afraid to ask someone where they’re coming from, or what the problem is. Or when we do ask, we do it in a way that only increases the fear and hostility the other person is experiencing. 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 discord or conflict. Such a constructive exchange builds trust, which increases the probability for more and better communication between the two of you.
The Bible sets the bar high when it comes to loving and accepting others: Paul says, ‘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)