Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sin and the Sinner... What Do We Do With That?

We say that we 'love the sinner, and hate the sin,' but what does that mean?

Why do we hate the sin? For the sake of hating sin? I think if that's the case, we're missing the point.

Does God hate sin for the sake of hating sin? Is he holy for the sake of making a bunch of rules and judgments?

I don't think so. I think he hates anything that hurts us, that has the potential to cause us harm. I think he wants us 'to be holy as he is holy' for our sake, to keep us from harmful activities, thought processes, etc.  I think he hates whatever hurts us. Why? Because he loves us that much.

Is this our motivation for hating sin? Because our love for others causes us to hate anything that could cause another person harm or keep them from being whole, happy, healthy? Or do we hate sin because 'the Bible says so,' yet we never stop to wonder why it might say that. I believe God has a very practical side to him, and I don't think we consider that as much as we should.

Personally, I think a lot of people who say, 'love the sinner, hate the sin,' don't know what the crap they mean by that. I think too many people abuse that, use it as a cop-out. Some, if they were honest, would have to admit that what they're really interested in is hating the sin and berating the sinner. I think sometimes we do that out of our own insecurities. We feel we don't measure up so we deflect and put the spotlight on others' shortcomings so maybe people won't notice our own.

If we really love, if our motivation is love, we need to demonstrate that love. That's not always easy. It's not always a clear path either. It can be messy. It can be confusing. It can be frustrating to live in the tension, in the gray. I say gray because as I get older, I realize life is not as black and white as I was taught it was. There is a lot of gray in the world. I can also say that it seems easy to 'hate a sin,' but the moment you put a face to it...well, it gets a little harder. At least it should. You realize that the sin is attached to a person, and that person needs love, understanding and mercy, not judgement. That's when it gets really messy. And it should. We should have to wrestle with that. It shouldn't be easy.

So why do you really hate the sin? And in what ways do you show the sinner love? And here's another question...is it really a sin or is it just something you don't like or participate in? I've come to realize that some of the things I grew up being taught were sins weren't really sins at all according to Scriptures but were personal convictions that someone placed on everyone else and labeled as sins.

Actually this post is not new. I've had it in my draft folder for quite some time, but I realized that it's a recurring theme in my unpublished posts. Guess it's time to get it out there. I've said this a lot...and been criticized a lot for what I'm about to say, but here it is nonetheless: We struggle with the balance between mercy and judgement; but if we must err, let us err on the side of mercy.

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