Acceptance is not Approval
by Todd Shupe
“Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (Romans 15:7 NLT).
The blood of Jesus provides us the opportunity for forgiveness of our sins. Our sins will be cast as far as the east is from the west once we earnestly repent and ask His forgiveness. However, our society has slowly tried to redefine what is and is not a sin. In the political world, these are known as wedge issues that force people to one side or the other. By design, there is no common ground. Similarly, the enemy seeks to find issues to divide us because he knows we are weaker when divided.
Some people living a non-repented sinful life want the Body of Christ to categorize their sin as acceptable. The exact type of sin is not necessarily as important as its reclassification. The goal is to allow the sin to become acceptable and label those that do not approve as intolerant.
I have a friend living in a sinful manner with no desire to change. I do not feel it is my place to judge him. However, I do feel it is my place to love him. I know that by showing him love, I am giving glory to God. I know that God is love and great glory comes from revealing God to others without judgment. I have my own sins so I am in no place to judge anybody else, but I can and do offer intercessory prayers for my friend. I hope he prays for me too!
You can show love to others just by accepting them. Just because you don’t like what people do doesn’t mean you can’t accept them. I think that non-repented sinner need our love and acceptance the most. Jesus said in Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus encountering a woman accused of adultery in John 8. The men left after Jesus told them that whoever is without sin should cast the first stone. I feel that Jesus was indicating that if you are without sin, then by definition you must be God, and as such you are free to render judgment. His last words to her were, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:11).” Our Lord had every right to offer judgment, instead offered mercy and grace. It is critical that we all recognize that He did not condone the sin and instructed her to “sin no more.”
Jesus was modeling for us the difference between acceptance and approval. We can accept people without approving of everything they do. We are called to accept everybody; we are not called to approve of everything everybody does. God loves us, but it doesn’t mean He approves of everything we do. Love is not saying I approve of everything you do. Love is saying I accept you in spite of what you do.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for the unconditional love you bestow upon your children. Help us to show that love to everyone we meet. You are our sovereign God, and we trust in you and you alone.
About the Author:
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.