“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” (Johannes Kepler)
Most of us want to be accepted/approved by others. Others want full endorsement. There is a reason that we have three different words here. Webster defines acceptance as, “favorable reception or approval” and to approve as, “to have or – express a favorable opinion of,” so Webster indicates the the words have such similar meaning that they could be used interchangeably. To endorse is a stronger concept. It means, “to express support or approval of publicly and definitely.”
I accepted and loved my father. I respected him as my progenitor and for his many good qualities. I did not, however, approve of him in regards to what I considered his defining quality – he was an alcoholic. I disapproved of him as an alcoholic. I did not endorse his alcoholism. We humans can do both for people. We can accept them, love, them, even treat them with deserved respect for specific aspects of their person. We can also, at exactly the same time disapprove of them regarding some aspect of their life.
I have an old friend who was convicted of possessing child pornography. He served his time in prison and is now on parole. I do not approve of willfully accessing and possessing child pornography. To me such activity is immoral. But here’s the thing. I can and have sat with him since his release and enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee discussing old times and his future. It was easy-going and natural as it had been in the past. I still cared for him as an old friend and wanted the best for him. I would readily recommend him for many types of employment. I respected him for I respected him in in our earlier lives. This did not change.
At the same time I disapproved of his past choices. They were, in my mind immoral and that would likely not change. I could not accept that behavior publicly and definitely. If you call that being judgmental, so be it. I call it having a moral sensibility. I can accept many people who participate in activities that I consider immoral. The degree of that immorality would likely impact how comfortable I felt, emotionally. I could not endorse his past behavior.
This is real life and to me a reasonable course. It would be unreasonable of anyone else to expect me to change my moral views just to be acceptable to others. That to me would be moral bullying and I see such behavior as unacceptable…. and immoral. I could not endorse that either.
And no matter what, despite everything said above, I can treat every human being with the respect they are due as humans. This is “thoughtful approval.”
PS. After decades of alcoholism, my father found Jesus and was set from his enslavement to alcohol. He lived his last decades free and happy – which I fully endorsed and enjoyed!
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For His Glory,