Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

Many wonder if the expression “love the sinner, hate the sin” is biblical. Yes, it is:

Jude 22-23 (MSG) says,“Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.”

Romans 12:9 (NIV) says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

However, as with much of the Bible, taking a single statement out of context is not only bad, it’s dangerous. Putting it in light of the whole Gospel, I look to Jesus in His interaction with the “woman caught in adultery.” Jesus squashed the wrath of the finger-pointing church-goers and simply told the woman (who was well aware that what she did was wrong and that she deserved death for her sin), “Go and sin no more.” Beautiful! He didn’t read her the Law. He didn’t preach hellfire and damnation to her. He set her free by loving her and showing her mercy.

I may hate sin, but I can’t (if I am acting Christ-like) tell a *sinner*, “I love you, BUT I still smell the stench of your affair on you. It disgusts me!” What kind of message is that? It’s what James called “double-minded.”

“I love and accept you, filth and all, BUT I hate the lie you have come to believe! You are better than this. You are loved by the All Mighty God. He wants you to choose Him, to choose life! You are worth more than you know.”

It is my opinion that someone else’s sin is not uprooted by me hating it, but by me showing them the love of Christ and letting Holy Spirit do the real work.

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