How Can We Love and Accept What We Despise in Ourselves? part 1
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

How Can We Love and Accept What We Despise in Ourselves? part 1

Last essay, I started to reflect on the following quotation from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “We will continue to despise people, until we have recognized, loved, and accepted what is despicable in ourselves.” I talked about recognizing what we find despicable in ourselves; today I’ll explore what it means to love those characteristics.
We all have attributes of which we are ashamed, which might include such things as a quick temper, irrational jealousies, or sexual attraction to someone other than one’s life partner. We are all imperfect creations, and Paul observed that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). However, as Christians we are called to honor and respect everything God has created, and that includes ourselves, warts and all.
I think we should love our shameful attributes in a similar way as we are called to love our neighbor. We might not feel affection for our neighbor – we might even dislike our neighbor – but we should still love our neighbor because our neighbor is a reflection of God, our neighbor’s creator. Therefore, we should treat our neighbor with respect and, to the degree that is safely possible, kindness. Similarly, even as we strive to eradicate those attributes of which we are ashamed, we should look respectfully and kindly upon them, acknowledging that they are manifestations of our brokenness and opportunities for growth.
Next essay, I will consider how we might accept what is despicable in ourselves. 

Go on to: How Can We Love and Accept What We Despise in Ourselves? part 2
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