Disapproval Without Hatred and Malice

Posted on: December 8th, 2013

We can disapprove of someone’s conduct and disagree with their views without hating them or wishing them ill.  The reason I believe this point is important is because so many automatically charge anyone who disagrees with them with malice.  Unfortunately, just the threat of such attacks causes many to keep their mouths closed instead of standing up for what they believe. (Rom. 8:15-18)

Some will accuse you of racism if you openly and strongly disagree with our President.  If you publicly oppose homosexuality and abortion people call you mean-spirited and hateful.  Tell parents they are letting their children dress indecently and you better look out.  Tell someone they have no right to their marriage partner and watch the floodgates of venom spew from their mouth.

I wonder, when people accuse me of ill will or malice just because I speak up, are they not doing something worse when they judge my motives?  If we do not see eye to eye on a matter, we should deal with the issues that separate us.  Only by doing so can we come together.

This is not to say that we should never judge another’s motives, because sometimes they give us insight into their hearts.  They do this by what they say and do, and by how they act.  And it is more than someone just disapproving of you or saying I disagree with you or that you are wrong.

Those who are mean and hateful have but one purpose, and that is to hurt you as much as they can. (Acts 24:1-6)  They do this by trying to discredit you and by trying to minimize your influence.  Their accusations are often without merit, and in fact they are usually just lies.

I know that most of us do not like confrontation and so we often keep silent when we disapprove or disagree with others.  We would rather not put ourselves out there for criticism.  However, Christians, by nature, must be confrontational because God stands up against sin and sinners.  He confronted Adam and Eve, Cain, Pharaoh, Moses, Israel, and many others with their sins.

Even though Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, He met sinners head-on every chance He had.  He did this with the Jewish leadership and at times with His own disciples. (Matt. 23)  Jesus told the woman taken in adultery to “go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)  The Lord will surely confront all who die in their sins on the judgment day. (1 Peter 4:3-5)

If you doubt we should do the same, look at the examples of the apostles and disciples in the early church.  Peter confronted Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:18-23), John stood against Diotrephes (3 John 9-10), and Jude dealt with false teachers.  The apostle Paul had to face off against many in his days, even Peter on one occasion. (Gal. 2:11-12)  At times they exercised patience and gentleness as they taught the lost, but they never left doubt as to what sinners needed to do.  Then there were moments when they spoke sharply and with force to those in outright rebellion.  But even in those cases, their motives were pure and they wanted all men to accept Christ.

When you look at God, Christ, and the early disciple, they all based their disapproval on a true and righteous standard.  The benchmark for right and wrong come from Father, based on who He is and His Nature. (Psalms 119:160)  I know many people disagree with this, but their opinion does not change the facts.  So when God speaks we should listen and obey because there is no higher authority than He.

Christ and the early Christians based their disapproval of sin on The Father’s Word. (John 14:24)  They were bold and yet loved sinners enough to sacrifice themselves.  Christ died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and most of the apostles became martyrs so the Word might get out.  When we disapprove of someone’s actions or disagree with their position on a subject, let’s make sure we do so by God’s standard.

Our purpose should never be malicious and our actions should never come from hate and anger.  We must have the same love for sinners as The Father and Son did, and they wanted all men to come to salvation. (1 Tim. 2:3-4)  Remember the words of Christ, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

So when I disapprove of sinful action and oppose ungodly positions, it is not because I wish anyone ill, but rather I want all to enjoy God’s grace.  What choice does a faithful Christian have except to condemn sin?  I disagree with any politician who promotes immorality and ungodliness.  Every homosexual needs to know what God has said about his “vile passion.” (Rom. 1:18-32)  Parents need to bring their children up respecting Bible modesty.  Those who have no right to their marriage partner should know what God says. (Mark 6:18)  People may get angry at the messenger and refuse to change, but our duty is to get the word out. (Ezekiel 3:18-19)

I am afraid we are letting sin win sometimes by not speaking up.  How many states now allow gay and lesbian couples to marry?  How many people have lost their jobs or forced to recant when they speak out about sin?  It is time that all Christian not only disapprove of sin, but we must stand in open disagreement with it as well. (2 Tim. 1:8-12)

Terry Starling