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Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin


by: Cindy Davis


I dislike this terminology more than any I hear the organized church spout off. They say it so piously and they have no idea what they are talking about. Nowhere do I find the idea of "love the sinner, hate the sin" in scripture. What I do find is this:

If anyone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?
--1 John 4:20

You cannot hate and love at the same time. It is that bitter and sweet water that should not flow from the same fountain that James 3:10 talks about. You may say you love someone but your actions are the bitter or sweet water (blessing and cursing) that prove your words.

Sin is disobedience to God. It is a heart attitude; you know that thing (evil thoughts) on the inside no one can see. Jesus said that it is the abundance of the heart that controls what we do. We can cover it up with false words but eventually what we really feel with come out. I might see you do something I think is wrong but that doesn't make me better than you are. You may see me do things you would never do but that doesn't mean you are better than I am.

Why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eyes; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.
--Matthew 7:3-5

I have found that when I am busy taking care of God's business, I don't have time to worry about what someone else is doing. God judges the motives, not the actions of mankind. Who is capable of judging the heart except God? Why would I even want to do it? A better way to say it is:

Who are you to judge another man's servant?
--Romans 14:10

Pointing the finger at another person and saying you hate what they are doing is never neutralized by saying, `but I luv' ya.' Give me a break. God is love, not condemnation. Life has to be reflected off that love to be effective. If you really love someone, you don't make a big deal about what they are doing. Homosexuals are the most hated and feared group of people on earth. Most Christians say they love but just let that word 'gay' come up and a wall (log) comes with it that shuts off love and the understanding that comes with it.

God loves us, not because of what we do but because he sees something in you and me that is worth loving. That something isn't Jesus because God sent Jesus because he already loved us. What he sees is his own spirit, which he breathed into mankind on the day of creation. That spirit never dies.

So where does Jesus come in? When we receive Jesus as our atonement for sin, God is more or less blinded to what we do. All he sees when he looks at us is the blood smeared on the mantle of our lives. The blood proclaims us as his child and cleanses us from sin. The blood of Jesus is a sign to God that we are on his side, just as the blood above the door signified to the angel of death that this household belonged to God the night before Israel left for the Promised Land.

If I get hung up on someone else's shortcomings, I can't see my own. It is that simple. I could tell the person who criticizes me that I hate the way they are acting but I really love them. Do I? No, because love never notices when others do it wrong.

The best thing I can do is to love others with a pure heart, fervently, and mind my own business. It is not my business what someone else is doing. It seems that judging others makes many people feel self-righteous. If this is all they want, fine. I say leave them to it.

I want to be like Jesus, who was constantly being attacked by those of the "church" who did not believe he was the Son of God. They said, "We know this man is a sinner." Do you think they loved him? No. They were too caught up in the letter of the law to care about what God really meant. They thought Jesus was a fake. They couldn't love him because they were too busy trying to make him fit their own concept of the way God is.

Jesus walked the earth to show us what God really is. He is light and there is no room for darkness in him. He is love and there is no room for hatred in him. God is life and there is no room for death in him.

Jesus died because "God's ministers" hated him. They judged him as being not of God. He said that he came to judge no one, but the words he spoke from God (words of Spirit and life) would stand as their judgment. When he rose from the dead, God's word judged the world of unbelievers.

Paul said he wasn't able to judge himself much less others. If we could all have that attitude, it would be easier for us to hear God when he speaks to us. Any thought that rises up inside a person and makes them feel hopeless, lost or unworthy is not from God. I also do not want to be the source of condemnation to someone else. I want to rise above pettiness and hatred.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever ...
--1 Corinthians 13:4-8

If love passes this test, it is truly God's kind of love. He loves me because I am his child, not because of what I do. I hope I live to see the day when God's love flows out from the institutionalized church and others I come in contact with in the world, but I am not holding my breath waiting for it. I just accept that this is the way things are right now and they are God's problem not mine. Then, I open myself to his love and allow him to flow through me. Who knows? If I can be an example of his love on this earth, maybe it will make a difference to one other person who needs it desperately. Maybe I am the instrument God will use to change the church world. I will never know until I start doing unto others as I would have them do to me.

Copyright © 2002 by the author
All Rights Reserved


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