Loving the sinner

I hate the expression “love the sinner, hate the sin.” It implies that you can cast blame and hatred towards an inanimate thing that the person is doing without acting like you are casting hatred towards the person. Jesus’s great message was NOT to love sinners and hate sin. It was simply to love sinners. Leaving the “hate sin” part out of the expression is not hurting anyone. In fact, it probably makes it easier to just think about and focus on the loving part. This doesn’t mean that we should be jumping for joy for sin or validating it in others lives. Rather, just validate others. Why do people sin? Most people sin because they are trying to make up for something that has been lost. A piece of self worth, a wholeness they lack. Jesus gives us this freely. So I think that in days and in moments when we truly believe this we are probably a lot less likely to sin. So what if we told of this grace and love to others and handed it out for free like popsicles on a hot day? I think we might get along a lot better than if we just keep saying “I love you, I really do, but I hate what you’re doing.” Jesus sat and dined with Zacchaeus in his home. Do you think he asked him to evaluate his sins whilst telling him how disappointing they were? I doubt it. I think Z came away feeling so loved and so whole in who he was IN Christ that he wanted to turn from his sin. Jesus didn’t have to tell him. Jesus just completed him. And in the completion he was compelled to give up his “collecting” and actually give back what he had stolen. When you are the whole that you were created to be in Christ, there isn’t the need for propping ourselves up on material desires or personal gain that hurts others. “God is love.” NOT God is love with religious indignation. He doesn’t desire sin for our life because He knows what we are and what we can be without it, but he doesn’t strike us down with lightening when we mess up either. Let’s take a lesson here from God and stop using rhetorical lightening bolts.

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  • Clay Harryman:

    I believe we are to love sinners since we are all sinners ourselves. But I also believe we are commanded to call sin “sin”. The new testament letters urge us to lovingly guide others down the path God has laid for us. God’s path never includes sin. My history of alcohol abuse had to end before I could minister to alcoholics. My gluttony had to become a thing of the past if I was to serve Christ. I had to face my sin and call it “sin” before Christ could use me.

    In that way, I “hated” my din.

    • Andrea:

      Please, by all means hate sin. I hate the expression because I think it gives people the excuse to pick apart sin in others’ lives without evaluating their own. The expression takes away from the call of Christ, in my opinion. I thought I made that clear, I apologize if I did not. Also, constantly going around telling others we hate what they are doing is not a very good communication of how much God loves them. On the other hand, I think that we are called to help our brothers and sisters in Christ if they are struggling with sin in their life, pointing that out if necessary.

  • Andrea, yes. Just yes. “Love the sinner, hate the sin” just ends up being not love at all. It’s also always conveniently someone other than ourselves and some other sin than the ones we struggle with. That works out well, eh?

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