Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Hate the sin...not the sinner?
Most of us know that Jesus outlined the 2 most important commandments to all who follow Him. The first is to love God with all of your heart, mind and soul. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Who are my neighbors? They are illegal immigrants, homosexuals, unmarried mothers with 3 kids by 3 different fathers, alcoholics….or the person sitting next to you in church that would “NEVER” do anything wrong. Some of these people are not necessarily easy to love. Trust me…I know. But I also know that I am not easy to love either. I am flesh. Human. Sinful.
Now, what about the phrase…”Hate the sin, love the sinner”? I think that this phrase is often used as a cover up for bigotry. People use it as an excuse to not have to love those people who are different from them. Is it Biblical? Well, we already covered what Jesus wants us to do. The Bible also tells us to flee from sin. Who’s sin are we fleeing from? I think that He wants us to flee from OUR sin. To hate OUR sin. In Romans 12:9 the author tells us to “Hate what is wrong”. There is that “hate” word again. But, let’s look at the first part of that verse…”Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” (New Living Translation) I am not a theologian and certainly do not profess to know a lot about the Bible. But what I do know is that if I spend my time hating MY OWN sin, I won’t have much time to hate, judge or look down on other people.
Genuine love requires concentration and effort. It isn’t easy, but I have found that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. For me to show Biblical love requires me to look at myself…to uncover my sin…to confess it and ask for forgiveness that is undeserved. Am I worth it? He thinks so. Is the homeless alcoholic ex-con worth it? He thinks so.
If you are interested in reading the blog post in the first paragraph, go to danoah.org.