Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The Desperate Need for Approval (ii)

I have been reflecting a little more on the desperate need for approval, about which I commented in my previous post. So this is a thinking-aloud post of half-formed thoughts.

It seems to me that large numbers of people cannot distinguish between approval and love. Time and again, people take disagreement as a sign of enmity.

Likewise, I see many parents who think that to be a good loving parent, they must never upset or disagree with, still less discipline, their child.

The result, of course, is spoilt children. (Not least because the attempt to avoid upsetting and disagreeing is futile, and therefore leads to erratic veering between over-indulgence and irritability).

And I think the longer term result is adults who have a desperate desire for approval.

And that, perhaps, is why the not-so-difficult concept of 'Hate the sin, but love the sinner' seems incomprehensible to many today. If you loved me, of course you would approve of whatever I do! What else could love mean?

So perhaps that is the challenge that we face: to help people to understand - more, to experience - what love really means: and that it is not the same as constant and unconditional approval.

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