We are in a series called "That's not in the Bible" and this Sunday I talked about the phrase "Hate the sin love the sinner."
Here's the main hilights:
- When Augustine used the phrase, he used it about his own sin. When we use the phrase it's always about someone else's sin or some group of people's sin.
- The sin we are usually talking about is homosexuality...what about all the other sins in the world?
- When Ghandi used the phrase he talked about how difficult it is to practice. Here's his quote: “Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept
which though easy enough to understand is rarely practiced, and that is why the
poison of hatred spreads in the world.”
- When we use the phrase it comes across as judgmental. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this about judging: “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is
illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the
grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Even if we are well intentioned in our use of the phrase it comes across as judgmental.
- We should only use judgment on those who have given us permission to do so. There is a place for a type of judgment or fruit inspection or accountability...but only for those that have given us permission to do so in their lives.
- Using the phrase comes off as self-righteous because it's always about someone else's sin and not our own. It comes across as "I'm better than/holier than/more Christian than you are."
- If you are going to hate someone's sin, hate your own!
- While I agree with the message of the phrase, I do not think humans have the capacity to practice it's precept because we have such a difficult time separating the sin from the person.
- When it comes to being an effective witness in the world for Christ Christians should start with love and grace not with judgement.
- For these reasons, Christians should put this phrase in the grave never to use it again (unless teaching against using it)!