The Stamp of Approval / by John Hailes

One of the common assumptions that Christians make is that they believe the way they interact with others either affirms or denies their ‘lifestyle’ or life choices. It’s such a strange notion and one that I believe scripture clearly addresses.

I’ve never understood why Christians have the audacity to think that people need their stamp of approval to live their life. Or that anyone even cares about their ‘stamp of approval.’

‘Well I can’t attend their wedding because I don’t want to affirm their marriage’ or ‘Well I can’t go to the pub because that would show that I’m approving of their lifestyle’…have we ever taken a step back to think about how self-righteous these statements sound? Imagine if an atheist refused to attend a Church service because he didn’t want to ‘approve’ of Christianity, I think we would have something to say about that.

We have elevated ourselves in our thinking to the point of judge and king; where we get to approve or deny people’s whole lives based off our one dimensional view and perspective.

The irony of it all is that Jesus never played by this assumption or the ‘rules’ we follow today. He ate with sinners, he went to wedding full of drunks, he refused to give a ruling on the adulterous woman, he spoke to another adulterous woman alone at a well and he even ate at the house of a cheating tax collector. Jesus never believed that his presence meant his approval, in fact the only people who did were the Pharisees.

How do we make sure this desire to give a ‘stamp of approval’ isn’t passed on to our kids? Here are some suggestions:

1.       Expose your kids to lots of different kinds of people!

Too often Parents want to keep their kids from the ‘bad eggs’. One of the reasons I am pro-public school is that your children get introduced to many different kinds of people. Of course, they aren’t always good influences, BUT they have to learn to live in this World with those people and not think they are better than them.

2.       Be cautious about the statements you make

Most kids repeat the same statements their parents make. If you are pronouncing judgement over people on the TV or after Church, then expect your kids to start sharing their thoughts in their class. Our words have power and they have huge influence on the younger generation!

3.       Show your kids what it means to care for people

Growing up I remember our family welcoming some pretty ‘different’ people into our home. My grandparents did for many years too. It always impressed upon me that you can go above and beyond in caring for someone and it doesn’t mean you are either affirming or approving them.

How do you train your kids from being judgemental?