51 thoughts on “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?”

    1. Thank you for joining in on this journey, Sebastian!
      Merton doesn’t mess around. I like that so much about him. It gets right to the heart of things doesn’t he?

  1. So many interesting comments. I’m not sure i’m going to go as far as hating my sin and loving all sinners. I think we all get an equal shot ;-). I’m not saying i like my sins, but if i’m giving others a break, i’ll keep myself on the list 😉

    I see that i was looking at “humanity” as a whole.

    In terms of loving people we know who have sinned, or are sick, or addicted, and differentiating between their illness and who THEY are, deep down … that’s a “can do” ABSOLUTELY. Being of the sinning “nation” i can accept a lot (sometimes too much).

    I think that’s why i look at the “world”. There is so much crime, etc. Maybe God doesn’t expect everyone to BE perfect, that’s what he’s for. He does expect self-awareness and mindfulness … and improving and progress. And if you can’t genuinely “feel” it … try to step back and put your foot in the other guy’s shoe for awhile … if it doesn’t fit; love and let go.

    SUCH a good topic.

  2. Wisely said…”I think a better slogan for me in this journey of grace would be: Hate my sin, love all sinners!”

    I would add to that that we need to hate sin and leave hating the sin in the sinner to God.
    The problem with trying to hate the sin and not the sinner is we eventually find ourselves having feelings toward that certain person who committed sin “x” that are less then generous. As you stated, only God can do hate sin and love that sinner perfectly.
    I need to keep reminding myself that all sins are just that…sin, and it only takes one to convict us before the court. God will decide what sins rate what punishment and it will be just. We (I) on the other hand look at some sins as worse than others as you alluded to. Who am I to decide whose sin is worse, who it is ok to “look” the other way on, and who (even if it is in my own mind ONLY) it is ok to judge and justify a less than loving attitude towards that individual?
    Hmmm….this should be a post! 🙂

    Great post sis!

    1. Hello Greg!
      What thoughtful comments – thank you!
      I like your distinction between hating sin and hating the sin in the sinner. Very insightful.
      I’m looking forward to your post! 😉

    1. dear judi –
      Same for me. I know I’m in trouble when the thoughts come
      I love the ocean. I’m not always careful.
      I’ve let my guard down more than a few times and gotten walloped by a rogue wave.
      It happens because I quit paying attention.
      The same thing is true with my heart.
      I can lose sight of loving too quickly, if I’m not paying attention.
      I’m praying for you as you begin your journey today!

    1. Thank you, Heidi.
      It’s a line that I find too easy to cross (confusing the sin with the sinner). Not so much with individual as when I fall into categorical or group think. While I’m not generally given to hating, I’m not always given to loving either…
      I have to keep a watch on my heart to make sure it doesn’t tilt away from grace.

  3. Hate can destroy a person faster than any disease. So many terrible things happen in our world today that it is easy to hate the sin and the sinner both. However, I truly believe that God wants us to love one another and leave the sinner to him. He will take care of the sinner. To forgive a sinner is to find your heart full of joy and peace. It does not mean you condone what that individual has done, it just means you have put it where it belongs. With God. It has taken me many years to come to this and sometimes I catch myself back sliding. But we never know the whole story behind a sinner. Only God does. Great post Debbie.

    1. Jill –
      Yes – exactly! It’s so easy, too easy, to hate the sin and then subtly slip into hating the sinner.
      You make such great points.
      Our call to love each other is clear.
      And I love it that you added your thoughts on forgiveness:
      “To forgive a sinner is to find your heart full of joy and peace. It does not mean you condone what that individual has done, it just means you have put it where it belongs. With God.”
      Beautifully put, my friend!

  4. This is an excellent post Debbie. I am glad you had the courage to share what you truly believe. I hope some of my Christian friends on either side of the political spectrum as well as those pro-life/pro-abortion supporters take note. It is a disgrace to hear some of the hate speech these people spew. One cannot faithfully call oneself a Christian and carry around so much hate. Jesus did not disdain the Samaritan prostitute when He met her by Jacob’s well. Instead, He used the opportunity to introduce her to the gospel. He showed her love and respect, and she was never the same again. She left the presence of Jesus rejoicing and spreading the good news: “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:9).

    1. Noel –
      I was expecting a lot of flak for this post – maybe it’s yet to come?
      Your comment is so encouraging to me. You spoke my heart.
      ” He used the opportunity to introduce her to the gospel. He showed her love and respect, and she was never the same again.”
      Thank you, Noel.

  5. Oh gracious one, I have been working on a post about God being angry (hating) with sin / wickedness. Reading this has helped me . .I’ll go back to it with a better understanding. Thank you and God bless you! I hate my sin too!
    love and prayers and always grace!

  6. You wrote this so effectively, Debbie, that by the end I was too tired and dizzy from trying to figure the “law”, to be able to do any judging. Now, that’s good preaching!! God bless you BIG–love, sis Caddo (aka “preacher C”

    1. Hello dear Caddo –
      If I had your head spinning with this, it’s a good thing I cut out the other 273 words I’d written! It takes a lot of whittling to get down to 300 – 350. Sometimes I fear I may whittle out my main point?

  7. Or, take Augustine the other way.

    A paedophile has sinned in a most disgusting and easily recognisable way. Even then- Love the sinner.

    (I think as I write. Thank you for the stimulus)- even if you find something someone has done utterly reprehensible, still- Love the sinner.

    1. Clare –
      Good example.
      Yes, hate the sin, but we are still called to love the sinner. We often can’t see the sinner for the sin. By that I mean, if we find a certain sin particularly abhorrent, it’s easy to see the person as the sin instead of participating in the sin so love and grace often fall by the wayside.

  8. Jesus has told me to remove the log from my own eye before trying to take the splinter out of my brother’s. Yet we are still called to help a brother be restored if we see him in sin. This is what it means to hate sin in others. It does not involve the rejection of people it involves helping them walk deeper into the love that conquers all. Sometimes and only sometimes that involves cutting ties with people for the sake of restoration (II Corinthians has an example of this) but I don’t see where we are called to picket sin…pray against yes, preach repentance from yes, picket, villify and mock? I fail to see how that is restorative.

    1. Pastor J –
      I used to do some co-counseling with a very wise man.
      One day I asked him what he based his approach on (since he was anything but a cookie-cutter counselor). I liked his response a lot. He said he tries to follow I Thessalonians 5:14-18

      “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
      Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

  9. Hanky Panky Party House huh? Great Post! I would love to know the origin of the picture. Please tell me it is nestled somewhere in the bible belt……

    1. I’m loving the Hanky Panky party house pic too. Too funny. What a beautifully written and well-thought-out post: Straight from the heart, from a multi-dimensional spiritual lens. What else would i expect from SA EA (earth angel) Working woman.

      The points you make are excellent. I fear that ONLY God can do this “hating sin, loving sinners” perfectly.

      Funny thing … (nod to Heidi) … this is where i can TRULY measure “progress, not perfection”. In the Program, there’s a lot of talk of working on your character flaws in a diligent manner, without beating ourselves up for our imperfections, but making sure we are vigilant to “keep improving our spiritual” (and otherwise) selves.

      As a rule, i watch a TV show called Intervention. The “addicts” (people with the problem of addiction, or ED’s etc.) are rather “difficult” to deal with and i always marvel at the Interventionist who seems to see a glimmer of humanity under a sad set of circumstances that the addict has found himself/herself.

      I suppose if you’ve “worn that sin” as the Interventionists have, you can see under the cloak of sickness. ANYWAY … this was SO thought provoking and “just right”. Great timing.

      I think all your topics are so important. I wish more people cared about the things you do! xo mel

      1. Hello Mel!
        I changed the question in the middle after a friend pointed out that she continues to love someone who has done something she finds reprehensible. She truly does hate the sin and love the sinner. I think this is much easier to do if we know/like/love the person already. It’s much more challenge when group people in “sin groups”.
        You make some great points, my friend. When God says love your neighbor as you love yourself – self love is a given. When we aren’t able to love ourselves and stop beating ourselves up for our imperfections, we’re typically not very good at loving others either. Hating my sin doesn’t equal hating me. Thank you for adding this really important perspective.
        And thank you for continuing to soldier (warrior woman) on with me in this quest for grace. Love you, too!

    1. I’ve learned so much about this from livingingraceland!
      Apathy and indifference and even hatred are easy. Love demands so much more!
      Thank you for doing the hard work of loving… day in and day out… even when you’re too tired and the rewards too few – still you choose to love.
      You inspire and encourage me.

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