One of the best ways we can love others is modeling the Divine example of acceptance and approval. In our modern world, the two often blur into one. But they are very different things in Scripture. Acceptance is an unmerited, unconditional state of grace bestowed on us by God. Nothing can strip it away. We are accepted, no matter what we do.

With acceptance as our base coating, we are able to pursue God’s approval. His acceptance covers all circumstances, but He is not beholden to approve of the things we do that are not holy and, therefore, not beneficial to us. What is beneficial is something God decides. He is the judge.

With few exceptions (such as false teachers) there is no reason to reject anyone. This passage speaks of the controversy of whether it is morally acceptable for believers to eat meat that has been sacrificed to a pagan idol. Paul’s answer: let that be between them and God. God will decide what is beneficial. Their job is to accept people as they are, because that is what God has done.

Approval is different. We should approve only that behavior which is beneficial. We don’t want to approve self-destruction. We want to approve what is beneficial and good. But the goal is not to “be right.” The goal is their success. That they might “stand.” Taking this approach ought to cause our relationships to be enveloped in grace, and centered on seeking the best for others.

We have an amazing opportunity. We can serve instead of seeking to be served. We can grant others the grace of unconditional acceptance, while also exercising the wisdom of approving that which is beneficial. In doing so, we can choose a true perspective that God, not us, is the True Judge of all.

“The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
– Romans 14:3-4