Is the saying, that we should love the sinner but hate their sin, scriptural?

Do you know who said it? It was Mahatma Gandhi. Does that make it wrong? Not really, unless you think it was God who said it. Gandhi also said he loved our Christ but not our Christians. Hard to argue with that!

In my Christian life, which covers about 36 years, I have seen divorce viewed as the “unforgiveable sin”, then homosexuality, with abortion thrown in for good measure. Of course, the “unforgiveable” sin is none of these.

How did Jesus deal with “sinners”?

Luke 18:9-14: (Easy To Read Version)9 There were some people that thought that they were very good. These people acted like they were better than other people. Jesus used this story to teach them: 10 “One time there was a Pharisee and a tax collector. One day they both went to the temple to pray. 11 The Pharisee stood alone, away from the tax collector. When the Pharisee prayed, he said, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not as bad as other people. I am not like men that steal, cheat, or do the sin of adultery. I thank you that I am better than this tax collector. 12 {I am good;} I fast twice a week, and I give one-tenth of everything I earn!’

13 “The tax collector stood alone too. But when he prayed, he would not even look up to heaven. The tax collector felt very humble before God. He said, ‘O God, have mercy on me. I am a *sinner!’ 14 I tell you, when this man finished his prayer and went home, he was right with God. But the Pharisee, who felt that he was better than other people, was not right with God. Every person that makes himself important will be made humble. But the person that makes himself humble will be made important.” *(the word translated “sinner” can also mean tax collector.)

Well, seems like Jesus was a bit harder on the Pharisee than on the tax collector. He said the tax collector was justified. Maybe it’s not the actions, but the attitude of repentance that justifies….do you think?

39 The Pharisee that asked Jesus to come to his house saw this. He thought to himself, “If this man (Jesus) were a prophet, he would know that the woman who is touching him is a sinner!”……  47 I tell you that her many sins are forgiven. This is clear, because she showed great love. But the person that feels only a little need to be forgiven will feel only a little love when he is forgiven.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The people sitting at the table began to think to themselves, “Who does this man (Jesus) think he is? How can he forgive sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Because you believed, you are saved {from your sins}. Go in peace.”

Jesus did not accuse the woman taken in adultery. He did not judge the woman at the well who had been married a few times and was not married to the man she was living with.

If this is Jesus’ example, who are we to judge a “sinner”? Who are we to say we love someone but hate what they are doing? It all seems to be one and the same to Jesus. It is western, classical, thought that separates who we are and what we do. Jesus saw people as an integrated whole, and treated them as such.

When we say we love the sinner, but hate the sin, we are really judging that person by what he does. It fools no one but the one speaking. That is not love. That is judgment. They don’t mix. Jesus didn’t do it. His harsh words were directed at the hypocritical religious leaders. Mercy triumphs over judgment, love covers a multitude of sins, and where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.

If we don’t get this, we don’t get why Jesus died.

All the emphasis on sin is not productive. It turns away many that need to hear the gospel of grace and freedom, but those who love them and are closed to Jesus because of all the condemnation. And it turns away any number of those you label as sinners. You know, that’s not the way to present Jesus!

The goodness of God leads to repentance.

I personally have stopped debating over things like abortion or homosexuality (but I have only begun to speak out). Jesus didn’t address either one.

Grace alone would compel acceptance without judgment. How do we know sin but by the law? And we are dead to the law.

Will not the God of all the earth do right? Can we stop judging others and just let them be who they are called to be in Christ? If gay Christians, for instance, make you uncomfortable, then just shut the church door. There are churches where the doors are open, without hypocrisy. But don’t patronize people for whom Christ died by saying you love them, and only hate their “sin”.

Don’t tell them you love them, even though they are naughty children. You are telling them they don’t measure up – that they are lacking in some way. It is not true. Besides, we are all naughty children – we shouldn’t throw stones.

We are all accepted in Jesus. None measure up against any standard. In Him we are perfect, but not in any measure we can devise.

Stop trying to free those who are already free.  Such nonsense!

Stop talking grace, and then putting people back under religious rules that you wouldn’t be able to follow yourself, like the Pharisees did.

I understand that this is a hard post to read. I didn’t come to this view overnight. It took a few years of study. To those who vehemently disagree, I say I would have too. I was in that place too,  about 15 years ago. Loving friends and a most loving God have revealed what is hidden to much of the church, and has been for centuries.

But love wins. God has already won it. He will win it for you, too, it you let Him.

Instead of getting disturbed,  go and heal the sick and raise the dead and set the captives free. Show the love of Christ to the world. Let the One who always does right work it out.

Food for thought: ‎”A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

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