Say a doctor loathes and detests their patients due to their illnesses. Can such doctor genuinely treat their patients?
Even psychologists who have seen it all can sometimes be taken aback by what their patients reveal. But here’s the thing: unless patients feel that their psychologist accepts even their worst, ugliest parts, they can’t truly begin the healing process. It’s not just about the words a psychologist says, but about their attitude, ability to relate, and willingness to face their own egoistic, self-centered, selfish side too.
But a genuinely spiritual person has a sixth sense for recognizing the unseen hand of God in everything, himself included. This requires an ability to see things objectively, without any judgment, which is a significant achievement. For a psychologist, this means they can’t be turned off by the illness or moral decay they encounter; they need to accept it before they can help bring about healing.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. All the virtues we are taught about – compassion, forgiveness, kindness, love – must also apply to our worst parts. In fact, if we ignore these parts, we can’t treat them. Just like Jesus, we must learn to love and accept even the parts of society —and in ourselves— that we’d rather ignore. If we never confront these aspects, we’ll never be able to address them.
Taking it one step further, the point of the Gospel isn’t to make us constantly feel guilt and shame. Instead, it’s about finding God’s love and image within ourselves despite our shortcomings. Love does not see us as the sum of our mistakes. We are not merely “wrecked sinners.” We are God’s children (Acts 17:28). The God who is love and light. The God who is forgiving. The God whose discipline comes through grace, mercy, and compassion, and not in an attempt to shame or cancel us, but to renew and build us back up.
Fighting criminals and protecting the innocent is just and foundational to every thriving society. However, a rigid, legalistic society lacking forgiveness and flexibility stifles individuality, creativity, and freedom of expression. We need the liberty to be true to ourselves, express ourselves, and fulfill our unique purpose in our unique way in this progressing world, which is a crucial part of God’s will for us (Genesis 1:28).
Innocent as doves AND wise as serpents
So, what about our egoism? Well, we have a love-hate relationship with our ego. On the one hand, it can cause us to hurt ourselves and others. But on the other hand, it is a necessary part of our being and how we were created. It helps us survive and strive for greatness. Like it or not, being “wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:26) means your ego is at work. While it’s true that if we can’t control our ego, it can lead to problems, it’s also an essential part of who we are. It is the driving force that advances us toward learning, discovery, growth, and creation. Society should let people embrace their ego, as it’s a valuable part of their identity. Embracing one’s true self might make them seem different or distant, but that’s okay – it can be a journey towards discovering who they truly are, even if the journey is sometimes painful. Besides, if everyone were alike, it’d be too easy to love your neighbor as yourself. But truth be told, some neighbors are enemies, and we must also learn to love them.1
Acknowledging this concept is like the two halves of our personality, which are often at war, reconciling and making peace. This truth relaxes our inner battles and helps us achieve some degree of inner peace.
Allow me to return to my original question above, “Say a doctor loathes and detests their patients due to their illnesses. Can such doctor genuinely treat their patients?” Of course not. Healing is a process. A doctor can operate on your body, but your body does the healing. Likewise, our spiritual healing is a process done in synergy between us and our Divine Doctor. This means two things. First, despite what some preachers say, God doesn’t hate, loathe, or detest us but loves us.2 Second, we must learn to accept, care and love ourselves. It’s the combination of these two that enables us to heal.
So, the bottom line is this: the meaning of life isn’t about you living in constant shame and guilt about your sin. It’s about love and acceptance despite our shortcomings and growth through embracing our true selves. It mirrors how Jesus treated people – with sympathy, compassion, and understanding. It was his grace that empowered them to change. It also reflects Paul’s heart when instructed to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). The takeaway here is to focus on acceptance of individuality with love and compassion as a generative power for true change and growth, much like Jesus did. That’s what loving your neighbor is all about!
Taken from my new upcoming book:
If Jesus Was Your Life Coach: Rabbi Yeshua’s Timeless Wisdom to Enlighten Modern Life.
1 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44)
2 Often, conservative preachers will preach God hates mankind. For example, famous theologian, preacher, and pastor R.C. Sproul said: “We always say the Cliché, ‘God Hates the sin, but he loves the sinner.’ That’s nonsense! The Bible speaks of Him abhorring us, and that we’re loathsome in His sight, and He can’t stand to even look at us.” (Pastor R.C. Sproul). Likewise, the popular YouTube preacher (over 70 million views on his channel), Tim Conway, said: “God is not unjust to hate mankind. Because mankind is a hateful thing by nature. It ought to be hated.” (Pastor Tim Conway).