Taking a small break from the abortion series to address a theme I’ve seen in several of the blogs in my neighborhood- that being the “love the sinner, hate the sin” conundrum.
First I would like to point out that while the saying means “hate what someone does but love who they are”, it’s a little disingenuous to say it in situations where what someone does and who they are is inextricable. One cannot, for example, say “I hate homosexuality but I love gay people.” If you accept that homosexuality is not a chosen state but hate same-sex intercourse, perhaps you can wrap your mind around the saying- but even then I take issue with the saying itself.
First off, what does it mean to love a sinner? How does one go about doing that? Do you feel some sort of affection for them? Perhaps say a prayer for them? Or is that love an active and vibrant thing, one that like the love of Christ transcends perception and washes people clean, presents them to God as holy and new beings?
And what does it mean to hate a sin? Does it mean to despise someone for the actions they take or to despise the actions themselves? And either way- how is one to go about actively loving a person while at the same time hating what they do? Or do we not hate the action itself, but what it represents?
For example- am I to hate gossip- or am I to hate the fact that gossip divides friends, and seek to repair the rift out of love for the friends involved?
Am I to hate bitterness, or am I to hate the fact that bitterness hardens a person’s heart and seek to soften it?
Am I to hate sexual indiscretion, or am I to hate the fact that it pulls people away from their search for holiness, and seek to demonstrate to them a better path?
Am I to hate drunkeness, or am I to hate the fact that a drunken state is one in which people lose control of their better angels, and seek to call them to a higher standard of behavior?
Don’t hate the sin or the sinner- hate the fallen state of humanity, and call saints and sinners alike to return to God’s heart for their lives. God doesn’t call us to a boring state of purity seen only in shades of white and pallor, but a vibrant life full of love and grace and mercy and color, one in which we see our own two hands slowly changing to world around us and bringing us to a second Eden- God’s kingdom seen in our lives, here on earth.
So that’s my two copper coins on the subject. It’s not as classy as a widow’s mite, but it’s what I’ve got to offer.