All human beings have faults. Whether we like it or not, human existence can’t be without imperfections. That’s just the way it is as long as we live in this world as human beings.
But does this mean that we should accept our faults? In fact, it is wrong to accept our faults. It is right that we should accept ourselves despite our faults, but not that we should accept our faults themselves.
Imagine that you built a brand new house. After having lived in the house for a number of years, you discover that there is some kind of structural fault in it. If the fault is not too serious, it might be repaired. But if the fault is too serious, it might not be possible to repair it. In this case, what you would have to do is to make sure that the fault doesn’t get worse. Unless you decided to tear down the house and build again…
Only an insane person would actually want to allow, or even to encourage, the worsening of a structural fault in his house. No one in his right mind would ever say “I hope that these walls in my house continue to become warped and defective, and if the walls eventually collapse, that would be okay with me.” This would obviously be sheer lunacy.
People readily understand the necessity of acting against physical faults. This is why the treatment of physical diseases is considered so very important – no one in his right mind will simply accept his cancer as it is, for example. Also, cosmetic concerns are so common because people want to rid themselves of their physical faults (or what they may perceive as physical faults) as much as possible. What people don’t readily understand is the even greater necessity of acting against sentimental faults. (By the way, there is no such thing as spiritual faults. Spirituality can be lacking, and in this modern world it is often sorely lacking, but it can never be faulty in itself because it comes from above.)
Sentimental faults include such things as character flaws and behavioral disorders. In short, all non-physical faults are rooted in sentiment, and are thus sentimental faults. Because people in this modern world are so obsessed with giving their sentiments free rein, they fail to understand that this usually means giving free rein to their sentimental faults.
Giving free rein to sentiments, and thus to sentimental faults, is a consequence of a lack of spirituality. A well-developed spirituality is the means of properly moderating the sentiments, and also of properly countering sentimental faults.
Over time, unchecked sentimental faults lead invariably to the gradual development of every possible type of disorder, including substance abuse, promiscuity, sexual deviance, frequent social drama, vandalism, etc. Thankfully enough, there are still very few cases of individuals whose sentimental faults are completely unchecked. And as most people mature, they do eventually get the fact that their sentimental faults need to be either repaired or reined in. But the undeniable tendency is that the disorders resulting from unchecked sentimental faults are gradually getting worse and worse. Just look around.
People who are aware that they have serious, irreparable sentimental faults should at least understand that their sentimental faults are inherently unacceptable. They should not deny their sentimental faults, but neither should they broadcast them. Such people should do what they can to counter their sentimental faults without making a public display of it. Their struggle against their sentimental faults is a necessary part of their lives. This is what the Christian concept of “carrying one’s cross” really means.
Countering one’s faults doesn’t necessarily mean being cruel towards oneself. The classic image of the penitent whipping himself repeatedly while saying “mea culpa” is too extreme. Ecclesiastes 7:13 says “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” Trying to straighten a tree that has grown crooked will only break it.
There is no need to be ashamed about having sentimental faults. As long as one has sincerely committed to countering their sentimental faults as much as possible, being ashamed is completely unnecessary. Shame would be warranted only if one gave free rein to his sentimental faults. Acting wrongly should normally result in shame. Of course modern society endeavors to eliminate the very notion of shame altogether because of the modern liberal obsession with giving free rein to sentiments.
Do I have sentimental faults? Yes I do. But unlike many in this day and age, I have every intention of doing what I need to do in order to properly counter my sentimental faults, which includes diligently building up my own genuine spirituality. And in this, I know that I’m right – even despite this modern world.