So no, love and acceptance are not the same, and it should be possible to do one without the other.
So via this new website I found that I'll tell you about later, I hashed out my thoughts. It took almost 40 minutes of writing, and just about 750 words, but I finally figured it out. This is what I came up with: be there without being there. Amazing! Let me explain.
When we love someone--for illustrative purposes, I'm going to use my husband and me--okay, when I love my husband, I want to show him that I care. When he's hungry, I feed him. When he's sick, I pat his back and give him tylenol. When he's excited about something, I ask questions. I show my love by being there for him.
When I accept my husband, I praise him. I tell him that he made a wise choice. I offer my opinion and advice (in a very non-threatening way, of course) ;-). I ask him for his opinion and advice. We have deep, meaningful conversations. I show my acceptance by being there for him.
So, there you go. How to be there without being there. And isn't that what we're supposed to do with our lost friends, too? (Not that I am in ANY way comparing slightly wayward Christians to the heathen lost...'cause I've been there too...) Love them, and through our loving actions, point them to Jesus, but if they are living in sin (as all unsaved individuals tend to do) we can't praise their life choices and we shouldn't ask them for advice (spiritually speaking, of course; if your unsaved friend is an expert plumber, I wholly recommend asking him to help you unclog your drain).
Well, this may not have any application to anyone else, but I know one little section of my brain is glad I finally got that all worked out.