Written by cycleguy on March 25th, 2013

Well, the snow hit that I wrote about in this post.  But fortunately, it was a wet snow that accumulated on cars as they sat or on the grass, but the roads were doable and there didn’t seem to be a hardship for anyone (that I know of).   We dodged a bullet because if this had been a month or so ago, holy mackerel!

I was reading Craveable Monday morning (yes, I am still working my way through it), when I ran across this statement:

I don’t know of anything more powerful and feeding to the life of another person than unconditional love and acceptance-the kind of love and acceptance that doesn’t judge or juke, the authentic love and acceptance that invests and gives and doesn’t put a ‘return to sender’ sticker on it.  (p.107)

Without a doubt people love to be loved.  I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t want to be loved unconditionally.  Now…you put conditions on that “love” and the person will automatically be suspect of whatever is coming.  The real crux of the matter is as Artie further discusses, and what has been discussed on this blog and others as well: this whole idea of acceptance.

Acceptance does not mean approval.  There is a  huge difference between the two.  Jesus loved and accepted “out of bounds” people.  The woman at the well  and Zacchaeus are examples of that.  From “go tell your husband” and “You have had five, and the one you’re currently living with is not your husband,” Jesus extended the welcome mat.  He told Zacchaeus He was going to his house that day, but I can guarantee Jesus was disapproving of his lying and cheating.  Jesus may have accepted these two (and others), but He did not approve of their lifestyle or choices.


Recently a former prominent pastor of controversial books/beliefs has gone public in his acceptance AND approval of the gay lifestyle and marriage.  I know this is a touchy/controversial subject for some, but while acceptance can be extended to them, approval of their lifestyle can not.   I believe in the No Perfect People Allowed approach.  I preach it.  I try to practice it.  But that does not mean approval of the lifestyle.  And keep in mind, I am only using that as an example.  Throw in promiscuous,  stealing, lying, gossipy,  etc to add to that list.

At the same time I must have to remember I am fallible also.  So a judgmental, hateful, hate-filled approach is not in the cards either.  Remembering that should bring me to a loving acceptance of others as people loved by God.

I know I am only touching the hem of the garment of this discussion.  But I would like to know what your thoughts are on acceptance and approval.  This is an open forum but please be respectful.  Anything less will not be approved. 


22 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bill , I tweeted out Acceptance Does Not Mean Approval and attributed it to you. I have been trying to figure out how to say that for some time. The popular notion is that to accept someone means that we must approve their live no matter what. I dare the people who hold that view to try that with their small children.

    • cycleguy says:

      Thanks Larry. I am sure it has been somewhere else by someone else though. you are right about the popular notion. That was part of what I was trying to get at.

  2. Daniel says:

    I have come to believe that love and trust are intimately connected. It can take just one person who you thought loved you, who betrays you at the deepest level, and you can become unable and unwilling to trust or to love. It sounds so foolish, but the mind can latch onto something and refuse to let it go, not just over weeks or months, but years.

    I know this does speak to the question you raised, but it goes to your words on love and how our lives are hinged to it.

    • cycleguy says:

      I don’t mind your “side road” Daniel. It speaks truth. The simple fact that the mind hangs onto things should be a reminder to us of our need to be careful how we treat others.

  3. the Old Adam says:

    Sure, we should accept the sinner. But we need to admonish whenever appropriate. We don’t judge…but not all things are acceptable in this world, or in God’s eyes.

  4. Jeff says:

    I know it will be difficult for many religions to accept Gays and Lesbians as being equal in terms of morality. By using words like “lifestyle” it perpetuates a grouping of all individuals in a class in negative and often inaccurate light. What is a heterosexual lifestyle? One that is comfortable with marrying divorced women? One that produces unwanted or under cared for children. One that finds abortion a legal remedy. These are things not present in a homosexual relationship or lifestyle. I welcome the legalization of same sex marriage. The normalization and celebration of these committed relationships and the end of the stigma and discrimination of these people is way overdue.
    I am sure as the older generation dies out that the religious communities(except for the most orthodox)will find a way to rethink the translation and interpretations of their religious scripts as they have done for divorce, women, blacks and a host of other past indescretions. Or risk total irrelevance. Very timely given the Courts taking up this matter this week. Unlike gossiping, stealing, bullying and a host of other behaviors, gay marriage is one that I not only accept but also approve.

    • cycleguy says:

      As you would expect Jeff, I respectfully disagree. I use the word “lifestyle” to delineate between the person and the actions. While I believe God loves the person and accepts them, He does not like the lifestyle they have chosen. (I will refuse to use the old “love the sinner, hate the sin” moniker). I know you and I disagree on this, but also believe we respect each other enough to do it kindly. You do raise some issues about marriage and abortion that should not be forgotten either. For example, while God despises the taking of a human life (abortion) He loves both the mother and the child. The legalization of something still does not make it right.

  5. cycleguy says:

    I will be leaving shortly (it is almost 8:00 here) to take my grandson back to Ohio. I will be unable to comment so please don’t think I am going into hibernation. 🙂 I will comment when I return. I will, however, approve comments on my phone. Thanks.

  6. Dan Erickson says:

    Absolutely. If I approved of everything my daughter did it would not teach her responsibility.

  7. floyd says:

    I’m with you, Bill. We all have weaknesses and are prone to certain sins… all of us. The mind boggling part in this is how the lost compare air to dirt; The equal rights is for the person for the way they’re born, not the actions of the flesh. A choice is not made to be female, ethnic persuasion or handicapped… The gift of free will is used to give into weakness and we all some and have given in. When the Church begins to speak to that truth and negate the ignorant argument of the desperate and needing love lost, we will have real change.

  8. I’m with you, Bill. We accept completely, but we can’t justify sin. Now, if they don’t believe the Bible, we have the responsibility to show what the love and nature of God is like not to correct their sin. We forget that God deals with everything in the context of relationship. We’ve been content to shout over walls for so long, we can fail to meet people where they are (as Jesus did). Good thoughts. Thanks.

  9. Debbie says:

    I loved the acceptance is not approval. Praying and asking Him how to live that out now. Thank you so much, and God bless you as you travel!

  10. I like your distinction. Another way to say it is that who is more important than what. No one wants to be loved for what they do as opposed to who they are. I can withhold my endorsement of someone’s sin while still affirming the person.

  11. The distinction between acceptance and approval is so key. I love that distinction that you’ve mentioned here. I wonder though how we need to address this publicly so that others know we are accepting and not approving?

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