A child protests that their parents don’t love them because they won’t approve of all their friends, or all their music, or unlimited time on their electronic devices, or a thousand other things that they strongly desire. We see the absurdity of such a protest since it’s the parental disapproval of harmful things that is the act of love. Unloving parents don’t care about sinful excesses unless they interfere with the parent perusing their own selfish desires. Loving parents are willing to have their child become unhappy, if their short-term unhappiness leads to their long-term good and long-term happiness.

This is no less true when it comes to adult relationships. It’s not uncommon for an adult to choose a certain “lifestyle” that involves immoral behavior. God says the behavior is a sin and that it’s harmful and even fatal. Nevertheless, this adult still insists on pursuing this course, and they’re often free to do so. However, they want more than the freedom to act, they also demand the approval of others. If they don’t receive the desired approval they accuse those who fail to approve of not loving them, or worse, of actually hating them. Approval and love are not the same thing. Sometimes they coincide, but if the thing for which the approval is sought is sinful and harmful, disapproval is the only loving thing to give.

I can and do love sinners. As a result, I can never approve of their sins. Neither can I approve of my own sins, even though I might have sinful desires. When you seek my approval for your sinful behavior you’re asking me to side with you against God (who has said it is sinful), and to declare that it’s really not evil but is, in fact, good. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isa. 5:20). The protest returns, “But I don’t think it sinful.” And I would say, “You can think what you will, and I will continue to love you, but I cannot approve of what I don’t approve of. I am a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ. His Word is my ultimate authority, and it’s to Him that we must all give an account.” So, I will seek to do you good but part of that will necessarily mean that I cannot and will not approve of the things that will do you and others harm, and I certainly cannot assist you by helping facilitate the very things that lead to eternal separation from God, Who is love.