Tuesday, March 10, 2009

hate the sin, love the sinner

While this phrase was coined by a Hindu, it has been picked up and preached in Christian circles.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

Do you know what this really is? Just another excuse to hate. Instead of saying I hate gays, I hate people involved in abortion, I hate people who cheat on taxes, I hate liberals, I hate people who are not just like me... we find ways to justify ourselves.

Let's put a biblical slant on it. Let's be righteous. Let's be compassionate.

Hate the sin, lover the sinner.

Do you know what that really is? Hate.

I heard that line in church a few weeks ago (not from the preacher) and it got me thinking. Even went so far as to search the word "hate" in the Bible. And you know what?

Jesus never preached a message of hate. Here's what Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus preached a message of love. Love. Love. Love.

So maybe next time, when someone hides behind Christ in the name of hate, I'll have enough courage to speak up. Even if someone hates me for it.


Anonymous said...

i suppose that
Love is God's power working through us for the glory of God...

and hate is a self centered power that works against the glory of God.

wilsonian said...

Ed! This is great. I've never been fond of that expression (though I'm shamed to admit that I used it in the past).

Jesus never taught the message of hate. Truth!

HennHouse said...

Awesome post!

Kansas Bob said...

This is spot on Ed.. very well said!

I wonder what someone would say if it went like this:

Hi Jane.. I really love you but I hate your gluttony!

Hi Jack.. I really love you but I hate your hypocrisy!

Hi Bob.. I really love you but I hate your self-righteousness!

Ed G. said...

Nancy... your words have been extra special lately.

Wilsonian... so you're the one! (ha). You and me both, sistah.

HennHouse... thank you for such encouraging words.

Kansas Bob... well said, this phrase seems to be pulled out only for 'special occaisions'.

paul del signore said...

yea, I agree with you... I've always felt there was something wrong with that statement. There's also something wrong with this separation of what someone does in contrast to what someone is. In my mind, what someone does is in fact what someone is... sin and sinner are not separate entities.

therefore, love the sinner who sins.

NoVA Dad said...

Ed, great post. What about a new slant on it - something along the lines of, "Dismiss the sin, embrace the sinner?"

Ed G. said...

Paul... you are so right... i know when i have sinned, i really get down on myself -- how could you possibly separate the two?

Matt... your alternative creates such a picture in my mind... the word 'embrace' says so much, thanks.

Anonymous said...

blog got deleted

new address


Peter Roy said...

Actually, this saying was coined by one of the more important figures in the development of western Christianity, St. Augustine.

“It is clear, then, that the man who does not live according to man but according to God must be a lover of the good and therefore a hater of evil; since no man is wicked by nature but is wicked only by some defect, a man who lives according to God owes it to the wicked men that his hatred be perfect, so that, neither hating the man because of his corruption nor loving the corruption because of the man, he should hate the sin but love the sinner. For, once the corruption has been cured, then all that is left should be loved and nothing remains to be hated.”

You can still disagree but thought you should know it wasn't necessarily coined by a Hindu. And for what it's worth, it's not like Hindu's preach hate either.

I think this saying has been taken far too literally. I think the point is that our mistakes/weaknesses/sins shouldn't define us as people. We are more than our sins and we should look past the sins and love the person regardless.

I think Paul understood this in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

Paul hates the sin that he keeps doing. I don't think it means you should go up to people and say, "hey Mary, I hate the fact that you sleep around." That's definitely not loving the sinner. But I believe hating the sin can be striving not to sin, and perhaps encouraging others not to sin... in a non-judgmental way.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that it's never good to hate people. But I think we can hate sin if it means we try to not do it ourselves. Maybe I'm just drifting here, but I think the saying has some merit if not used as an excuse to condemn people for their sins, but used as an excuse to love people despite their sins.