As the summer winds down, we are also finishing our look at the book “Half Truths” by Adam Hamilton. This week we looked at the half truth of “hate the sin, love the sinner”. As with all half-truths, it is a well-intentioned statement. We are trying to say that we love all, but no their sins. People are welcome here, but we don’t condone those actions. As we think about this more, this statement causes us to forget that we have our own sin.
What is Sin?
Sin simply put is straying away from the path or to miss the mark that God has for us. Sin isn’t a good thing, but it is something we all do. Trying to rank sins, or saying that all sins are equal supports this half-truth of “hate the sin, love the sinner”, and counters what scripture teaches.
Hate the sin…
Who did Jesus hang out with? He was with tax collectors, prostitutes, drunkards, adulterers, cheaters, thieves, and other “sinners”. Jesus ate with them, healed them, and called them to be his disciples. We never heard Jesus say, “I hate your sin, but I love you.” Jesus preached about grace and forgiveness of sins. Jesus only got mad about sin when church officials were committing sin.
…love the sinner
When we take the approach of loving the sinner, what is wrong with that? Shouldn’t we love sinners? Of course we should love sinners! BUT Jesus calls us to love our neighbor, He never said to love the sinner. Our neighbor is everyone that we meet, will meet, or never meet. Basically our neighbor is everyone. When we use the mentality of love the sinner, we put on a lens of judgement.
““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
If we love someone because they are sinner, and not our neighbor then we are putting more focus on the sin, not them as a person.
We should love our neighbor despite the fact we are a sinner. There are some sins that we should hate” murder, oppression, abuse, racism, injustice, and indifference to others. We should work against these things, by showing love to those involved. Our job is to love, not judge. There are enough Christians who are quick to point out others sins and forget their own. Let’s love one another and lay aside our sin, while showing humility and grace.