Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin….Do I Have To?!?!
Jude 1:23 – Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
Do you realize that there is nowhere in the Bible officially that says, “love the sinner and hate the sin.” For years, we as Christians went around saying this. Even to this day, I still say this. Does this mean we should not follow it?
Looking above at Jude 1:23, you can see that we are called to show mercy to others but to hate the sins that fill their lives.
In this age of tolerance, many people have taken that phrase of “love the sinner and hate the sin” as a watered down version of both Jude 1:23 and John 8:1-11. How many times have you, as a Christian, been told “you are to love me, so don’t judge me.” UGH! Just writing that makes my blood pressure rise. It ticks me off that people who have never even opened a Bible put that phrase next to “judge not, lest ye be judged.” My first reply to those who say that I should not judge is, “open your gosh darn Bible!” (sorry for the strong language)
I am going to take both of these phrases/verses and add some clarity to them.
First, love the sinner and hate the sin. While not explicitly in the Bible, it is clear in both Jude 1:23 and John 8 that we are to follow through on this. We are not to water this down and take it to mean that we should not judge a person. Hate the sin is just that. I believe homosexuality is a sin. I believe abortion is a sin. I believe adultery is a sin. But I have plenty of friends who are gay, have had abortions, and have committed adultery (admittedly that last group is a little more difficult for me to love)
Jesus gave us the command to love God and love others. Those are the two greatest commands. We are not allowed to be selective in whom we love. When Jesus was at the Mount of Olives, the Pharisees brought Him a woman who was caught up in adultery. In Jesus’ time, adultery led to a public stoning. I can just picture this scene. The Pharisees are confronting Jesus and a crowd is gathering. They are beginning to circle the woman, picking up stones to throw at her. As the Pharisees are talking to Jesus, He looks down and begins to draw something on the ground. We don’t know what He drew. But I am picturing in my mind (keep in mind that this is the creative side of Fred coming out right now) that Jesus drew a dot surrounded by a thick circle. As He begins to speak, He says, “Let anyone of you who is without sin cast the first stone.” At that, He bent down to write on the ground again. This time, he begins to erase the thick line that surrounds the dot in the middle. As He does so, slowly the crowd begins to disperse and not one stone is thrown. As Jesus approaches the woman, He asks her if anyone has condemned her. She tells Him no.
But here is the amazing thing…Jesus does NOT dismiss her sin. He tells her to “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He specifically points out that her life is one of sinfulness. He confronted her with her sin. But He did not destroy her because of it.
You see, sometimes we Christians like to look at someone in sin and claim the moral high ground with them. We like to make sure our point gets heard. The question is not whether we are trying to win a soul to Christ by showing our love and our mercy, but whether we can debate just to win the argument.
And, honestly, it is very easy to take that viewpoint. We know what the right answer is. Now, we don’t always make the right choices, as is evidenced by the number of pastors that have fallen from grace or the countless number of unbelievers who point clearly to our sins, showing us the lack of grace, mercy and love that we should be showing in return.
But let me ask you, Christian, are you ready to be judged by the world for doing the same things as the world? This leads to the verse of “judge not lest ye be judged.”
When we dole out unmerciful, unloving judgment that the world is going to see that we are acting just like them and they are going to give it back to us. You see, Matthew 7:1 is a warning. Be prepared to be judged by the same standard of that which you judge others. We are clearly to use the Bible to point out where sin is. But we need to be prepared to take a dose of our own medicine and be judged by that same exact Bible.
The Bible gives us a very clear road map of how we should live our lives. Keeping in mind that simply living a “right life” will not get you into heaven, one must come fully to Christ before that can happen.
Now this is for my unbelieving friends. This is why Christianity is very different from any other religion out there. Every other religion asks that you make yourself better before coming to their god. With Christianity, the power of the Holy Spirit will change you from the inside out. Once a person is saved, typically it is not as if you immediately turn from prostitute to nun. But what does happen is the desire to conform to a Biblical lifestyle.
To be brutally honest, the best Christian to approach those with drug issues is a Christian who has a drug problem. The best Christian to approach those with a drinking problem is a Christian with a drinking problem. Why? Because they have a testimony of power over the addiction. They have the Holy Spirit in their heart and are able to speak the same language as the unbelieving addict.
This idea is continued in Matthew 7:3-5. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Notice one thing. Jesus is not telling us to simply dismiss the speck in our brother’s eye. He is telling us to make sure we are taking care of our own problem before we approach others about the same problem. And approaching others is not about bragging about how YOU have conquered the addiction or sin, but about how GOD has transformed your life.
So if you are reading this and feel that Christ is calling you to Him for the first time, please reach out to me. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to work together with you to either help you understand who Christ is and what He has done in my heart or put you in touch with someone who can talk to you about your particular story.
I pray that everyone reading this finds that Christ is calling us to that deeper life. A life that can only come from making the judgment calls between good and evil based on Biblical standards. A life that live in the power of the Holy Spirit.