Loving other adults and peers really well requires two sensitive awarenesses. One is everyone’s gaping need for unconditional affirmation. Therefore, let us give that affirmation as our pre-set immovable posture toward all of God’s humans. The other is everyone’s need for adult autonomy: let us give space to others to define themselves.
Each person is an entire continent, too vast to know fully, even by themselves of themselves, let alone by someone else. In light of this, we must begin relating to everyone with a kind of awe. If we don’t accept others, each as a unique continent, they just go underground; they sink, like Atlantis, out of our view. Each person will be who they will be; the sooner we can square ourselves with that, the more relationally successful we will become. We can teach this to our grown children, as well.
Give a person space and they will seek to be near us. Attempt to carve on them for our own ends, or control them or rearrange their head, and they will quietly slip out of view. What we seek to possess, relationally, we will lose. What we relationally keep in an open hand, we will gain.
We need to revere and respect each composite person, as is. Believe the best about them. Realize that they became whatever they are today via all of their specific and long background before they ever met you. Most of us are quite helpless to change, even if we want to. Let us then walk softly around others. As the old adage says, until we have walked a mile in another person’s moccasins we do well to refrain from criticizing. We may speak best with a zipped lip and a large loving heart.