Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner?

Hate the sin, love the sinner. It’s something we’ve all heard. While that sounds like the right approach, is it really? And if it is, how exactly do we walk that out? How can we authentically love someone and simultaneously hate the things they’re doing? Wouldn’t our hatred toward the things they do reveal itself in how we treat them? 

What if I told you that nowhere in scripture does it tell us to “hate the sin, but love the sinner?” The closest you will find to that in Paul’s letters is in Romans 12.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9)

In context, Paul is explaining how we should love one another. The ‘evil’ he is talking about is actually not loving others. In other words, love people and hate not loving them. We need to learn to hate hatred and simply love people despite the things they are doing. 

This can be extremely difficult for us to wrap our minds around. We put pressure on ourselves to ensure people are living godly lives, but our job isn’t to change anyone. We aren’t called to hate the sin and love the sinner, we’re just called to love. Period.

We have to stop adopting the idea that it’s our job to change the way somebody else lives their life. It’s the goodness of God that leads people to repentance, not us guilting them into living a certain way. 

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)

The world may never step foot in a church or experience God’s goodness in a Sunday morning worship service. It’s up to us to show them His love every day of the week no matter how much we disagree with something they are doing. Our job isn’t to hold them to our standard of living, but to love them the way God loves them, unconditionally. Then, they can experience true life change from the inside out.

We all have areas of our lives that we could improve on and God loves us right in the middle of it all. Understanding we are loved no matter what, allows us to run boldly to the throne of grace. He’s the only one who can produce freedom and change in our lives. We can’t take on the role of the Holy Spirit. It’s not our job to hate the sin and love the sinner, but simply to love.

Clint ZellerComment