It’s funny how sometimes you think a project is going to go one way and it ends up taking a completely different look than you ever imagined. That is exactly how this post has gone for me today.
The original title was Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin. So, I began doing research on who said it (thinking Jesus did) and how I could implement this activity into everyday life.
I was surprised to find a.) Jesus did not say this and it’s not in the Bible. According to several websites, St. Augustine originally wrote this phrase in his letter 211 and then the phrase later became famous when it appeared in Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography, and b.) the phrase has become a tool used by many for hatred, judgment and self-righteousness. YIKES! (This is definitely NOT how I saw this post unraveling!)
Originally, I came up with this topic because I was wondering how I could love my children and teach them that I still ABSOLUTLEY love them, even when I have to discipline them. The basis of my post was going to be how to integrate love and discipline and initially I was going to use the said phrase as a guide.
You can imagine my surprise to see this topic on my blog calendar amid all the hateful speeches, articles, blogs and interviews currently in the news media surrounding different views, choices and lifestyles of our countrymen. NOTE: My blog calendar was scripted a year ago.
After reading and listening to much of the hatefulness in the news, I have a new opinion on the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin”. I don’t like it because of the word HATE.
“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1John 4:19-21
The reason I’ve changed my mind regarding this phrase is because I had to answer this question: Can I, a mere human, really know how to hate something as God does in the Bible? (To see what God hates look at Deuteronomy 12:31, 16:22; Psalm 5:4-6, 11:5 and Proverbs 6:16-19.)
Me…able to hate correctly? No. I don’t think I’m mature enough, strong enough or wise enough to hate without making major mistakes and the risk of jumping head-first into the sea of sin.
Basically, I’m much better served by working on what I can do in order to bring glory to God. And I’m pretty sure getting into the business of hating, judging and playing the self-righteous gal would only blur the lines of right and wrong for me.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
Instead of worrying about what others are doing, I need to become more Christ-like by loving, obeying, helping, praying and encouraging others to find freedom in a God who loved us SO much that He sent His only son (Jesus) who then died for us while we were still sinners. (See John 3:16)
In conclusion, (this post is nowhere close to what I had imagined it would be) I don’t think I will use the phrase “love the sinner and hate the sin” again if I can help it.
Jesus is quite clear on loving everyone: friends, family, neighbors, those who are different than us and our enemies. (See Luke 6:27-33)
Don’t know about you, but I get into enough trouble all on my own…hate only gets me there quicker.
Instead, I plan to practice love; teach my children to love; pray that I discipline my children and myself correctly; and pray that God leads me in every step I take for the rest of my life. I’m going to mess up, but I’m going to give it my best!
What do you hate?
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 21:4 – Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!