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Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner?

DSCN5314There may be a point in the distinction between hating the sin and loving the sinner. But it’s risky business. And some of us might be better off leaving the job to someone else.

By now, more than a few of us have probably discovered that it is hard to point our finger at anyone other than ourselves as “the sinner”—without self-identifying as a first class hypocrite. How many times have we heard the distinction made about hating the sin, but loving the sinner, when those talking about “the sinner” were referring to themselves?

Yes, this can seem confusing. By the wisdom of Solomon, God hates a lot of practices that are harmful to ourselves and others (Prov 3:16-19). Isn’t it, then, our responsibility to fearlessly speak that truth?

Maybe not. We aren’t God. Nor has God, himself, condemned any sin without a plan and willingness to bear the pain and consequence of “the sinner” in the body of his own Son.

Jesus didn’t come to condemn anyone, but rather to be condemned by sinners like us—for us.

The result is that now when people like us cry out, “God me merciful to me the sinner” we get what we ask for—mercy. Just as importantly, by pointing the finger at ourselves, we find the credibility we need to declare the best news ever heard. There is hope for anyone like us.

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97 Responses to “Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Here is the trap from which there is no escape except silence. Just by pointing out the guilty in this topic you become the guilty and are guilty of judging by being accused of judging.

    Jesus may not have come to accuse anyone but He had some very harsh words for “scribes and Pharisees” in Matthew 23: 1-39.

    In fact Jesus’ followers offer all who listen a choice of accepting Him as Lord or “condemned” for not.

    The entire ministry of Jesus’ teaching is about how to live correctly by His view as a contrast as how not to live according to the will of God.

    The entire Bible is an example of right and wrong choices good and bad results meant I believe to show us the way to live a “right” life and avoid being condemned.

    How is it possible to understand light without darkness? How then is it possible to “lead” others to Jesus without showing the contrast between good and evil, between “Christ and Anti-Christ”?

    It just isn’t possible to not notice sin or bad behavior in another; so the issue becomes do we point out that behavior to that person or just remain silent.

    What as a parent do we do when our children lie or steal or violate any of the principals of right living? We point out to them such behavior is wrong or not? How can a parent be considered a hypocrite for trying to teach an errant child? I would suppose an argumentative child may accuse their parent of such in an attempt to justify their behavior, but that don’t make it “right”.

    Not sure where this subject is going to go Mart other than in a circle.


  • Mart De Haan says:

    Good morning, Steve, thanks for your comments. You and I might be talking past one another. But let’s let it play out.