Hate Sin, Love Sinner?

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    We have all heard the idea “hate what man does, but don’t hate the man”. This is often very difficult to do because many times it is hard to separate the man from his actions. A man’s character is determined by his actions and therefore actions become a part of that man. Yet there is a way we can see this more clearly and separately. Almost everyone has this “hate the sin, not the sinner” attitude throughout their lives, it is just sometimes difficult to recognize. This attitude is seen in our mindset towards ourselves. When we sin, we look back on that sin and we hate what we have done. We know it was wrong and we shouldn’t have done it and we despise the fact that we gave in to the temptation. Yet even through the hatred we have for the sin, we still love our own selves. We still want what is best and what is right for our soul. We still want to be free from that sin and often struggle to find a way to be free. When we find ourselves in these situations, we are sorrowful for the sins that we have committed and hope that somehow we can find forgiveness and be made right once again. Hopefully that sorrow is a righteous sorrow that will lead us to change 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

    However we sometimes view sin differently in the lives of others. We sometimes want to take the sin, sinner, and all and cast them into the lake of fire. Yet this is not the love that Christ has shown us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. Christ chose to die for us while we were sinners with the hope that we would accept His salvation and be free from our sins. Christ never loved our sins, condoned our sins, or tolerated our sins, but He did love each and every soul enough that He gave Himself as the sacrifice so that we could have freedom from our sins. Loving the sinner does not mean that we ever condone, encourage, or help someone stay in their sin. On the contrary, love means that we do everything that we can to help a sinner be free from his sins in Christ.

    Loving the sinner means that we treat them as Christ has treated us. Loving the sinner means we teach the truth (John 8:32). Loving the sinner means that we help them through their struggles and out of their sin (Galatians 6:1-2). Loving the sinner means we even sacrifice of our time, our effort, and ourselves with the hope that somehow, somewhere, sometime the sinner will choose to change, choose Christ and live their life free from sin.