Approve, reprove, disapprove? What should Christians do? What would Jesus do?
Some, and it seems more and more people each day, believe we should approve anything, except the most heinous of acts. They believe Jesus approved of the woman taken in adultery. Yet, he told her to “Go and sin no more.” He did not approve of her lifestyle.
Jesus said to not judge, and some believe Jesus is saying to never judge sinful behavior.
Yet, Jesus also said this: Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment. ~John 7:24
Jesus condemned hypocritical judging. He never said not to discern between right and wrong.
People want to live any way they choose, and they want Jesus to approve their behavior.
For example, I have an acquaintance who became involved in an affair. She told people, “Do not judge. This is between the Lord and me.”
Later, this acquaintance discovered a woman was having an affair with this same man plus a few other men as well.
Now, according to her reasoning, shouldn’t her reaction have been, “I cannot judge her. That’s between the Lord and her. It doesn’t concern me.”
As you can guess, that wasn’t her reaction. She went into a full tilt rant against the woman, calling her the vilest of names.
Sometimes we think we’re okay if we’re just a little better than our neighbor. Because this woman was in an adulterous relationship with one man, she believed her lifestyle was better than her “friend” who was involved in several adulterous relationships.
Others are not our standard.
Jesus is the standard. We must continually look into the words of the Bible to make sure our conduct is correct. And not only that. We must be open to reproof.
“You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. ~ Leviticus 19:17-18 (NASB)
Notice this: reprove your neighbor. (verse 17b)
The word translated reprove means : appoint, argue, chasten, convince, correction, dispute, judge .
A primitive root; to be right (i.e. Correct); reciprocal, to argue; causatively, to decide, justify or convict -- appoint, argue, chasten, convince, correct(-ion), daysman, dispute, judge, maintain, plead, reason (together), rebuke, reprove(-r), surely, in any wise. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
How many Christians today are afraid to do this? We keep our mouths closed tightly because we are afraid of offending.
However, notice the next part of the verse: so you will not share in his guilt. (verse 17 c)
We are to reprove our neighbor so we will not be guilty.
As Christians, we are also to be open to reproof. Our fellow Christians are helpers to keep us on the straight and narrow path. They are to warn us of dangers when we stray.
Also notice verse 19: You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
We reprove in a frank give-and-take conversation conducted with love as our underlying motive.
We reprove with the hope of one day approving.
We reprove with our own doorstep swept clean.
We reprove knowing we need reproving also.
We reprove because God tells us to.
We reprove because we love one another.