Approval Vs. Acceptance

I’m Jesse Mahannah and I approve of this message.

But that’s not really the question I worry about and I doubt you do either.

You and I both want to know if they approve of this message.

Actually I think you and I end up asking- do they accept MY message.

Because I like most everyone else I can think of, hope to be, accepted.

But that’s not all.

I want to feel accepted.

And there’s nothing that gives you the high of acceptance like someone’s approval.

I want what I do to be approved.

And that can be a problem.

Because sometimes I think acceptance and approval are the same thing.

And sometimes you might think they’re the same thing. The truth is they can’t be farther apart.

Approval doesn’t equal acceptance.

But I, at times, seek approval as a means to validate my acceptance.

My guess is if you’re reading this you may struggle with that same thing.

And if you’re a Christian there’s a problem with that.

See my need for acceptance isn’t wrong. My need for acceptance comes from a very real need to be accepted by my Creator. I think everyone has that. The good news is that he does accept us, broken, imperfect and sinful, if you turn to him God will not reject you.

And as a believer in the fact he was willing to send his only Son to die, for me, while I was yet a sinner, that need for acceptance should be fulfilled.

But as much as I know it factually and believe it spiritually, it can be hard to live out faithfully.

My need for acceptance isn’t the only one I have. I have a desire to be approved as well and that is not inherently a bad thing. It, when managed properly, keeps me doing what I should be doing. But can I be honest with you for a second?

There are things that Christ doesn’t approve of in my life that he still accepts in my life.

Gasp!

What?

Can they be separate?

Absolutely.

Here’s a better way to word it.

The things that Christ doesn’t approve of in my life don’t mean he doesn’t accept me and they don’t get me rejected by him.

Our culture struggles with this.

We can’t be Facebook friends with someone who doesn’t approve of all of our lifestyle. It feels like your lack of approval translates into my personal rejection. The problem is that just because I don’t approve of something you do, it doesn’t mean I don’t accept you for who you are.

And here’s where the rubber really meets the road for me and anyone else who works creatively.

When I create something I feel like part of me is wrapped up in it. Which is great because that means I really pour myself into what I do. The problem is, if it’s not approved; if it’s critiqued at all; I can feel burned. Rejected. I feel like I have lost all acceptance.

And that’s just not true.

If I want to be better.

If you want to be better.

Unhook the word acceptance from approval.

You need people in your life who offer you acceptance no matter what.

But that’s not all.

At the beginning of a new year if you want to work on being the best you, you need more.

You need people in your life that can look into your work and tell you they don’t approve. Without you feeling rejected.

You need people in your life that can look into your personal life and tell you they don’t approve. Without you feeling rejected.

Everyone needs unconditional acceptance. I hope you find people who model that Christ-like acceptance. But for the second group of people, their presence in your life is entirely up to you. Whether you approve of that message or not.

Photo by: rawpixel on Unsplash.

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