Love the Sinner, Hate Your Own Sin?

It’s not a new quote, but I’ve seen this image making its way around quite a bit lately.

Question: Is is possible to love someone without hating their sin?

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9 thoughts on “Love the Sinner, Hate Your Own Sin?”

  1. Yes, though for a Believer this involves a few steps:
    1). Fear man more than God.
    2). Ignore, minimize, or redifine what Scripture has to say about the immediate and eternal consequences of sin.
    3). Give yourself a hug, because you’re a winner!

    4)… live for a while and then die…

    5). Explain points 1-3 to God.

  2. It doesn’t take any time to hate sin, either you hate it or you don’t. It doesn’t matter whether it’s yours or someone else’s. It takes time to justify your sin. It also takes time- probably more time- to cultivate your heart, or rather let God cultivate it, nto love what He loves and hate what He hates. And yes, God is a hater. Of what is evil.

    1. Well, I can actually be pretty speedy at justifying my sin, almost reflex-like sometimes…

      True enough, though. It isn’t either/or. If you cultivate a heart like God’s own, you’ll hate sin – yours and anyone else’s.

  3. I don’t think that Mark Lowry is saying that he doesn’t hate sin. He says he hates his own sin. I believe he is saying that he doesn’t have time to point fingers at others and condemn them for theirs while he has his own to deal with. It reminds me of what it says in Matthew 7 about taking the plank out of your own eye so that you can see clearly enough to remove the speck of dust in your brothers eye. Yes, we should hate the sin…..others and our own. But, we are here to win a lost and dying world to Christ by telling them of the good news of the blood of Christ. If we are hating them because of some sin we think they are committing that we think is worse than our own…..gossip, pride, and others……., how can we care enough to even tell them of this good news? God hated the sin….however, didn’t he send Jesus? His one and only son to die for the sins of the world? Does it not say in a verse we all know all toooooo well. John 3:16 For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life? Didn’t he love us enough while we were yet sinners to help us to find our way to salvation. I don’t know about you….but I wasn’t born saved. *WINK*
    I am grateful for his mercy, grace and love, for which I would be lost without and so many of those that I love.

    1. I have no idea what context this quote was taken from, so I can’t speak for what Mr. Lowry actually intended. I do know I have a big problem with the statement as is.

      As Dan pointed out, if we take seriously the fact sin is always destructive to the one participating in it, love compels us to hate their sin.

      If something is destroying someone we love, isn’t horror and hatred the appropriate response toward that thing?

      We certainly shouldn’t go around pointing fingers at folks when we have glaring sin issues in our own lives.However, we will never be completely without sin in this life–and the Matthew text implies that once we remove our log, we OUGHT to help our brother out with his speck. His sin is hurting him.

      As for unbelievers, hating their sin doesn’t have to do with condemning them for any particular sin in their lives. It’s just that – hating what is hurting them.

      You are right that what they really need is to know the good news about Jesus. God loves them just as they are, and freely offers them salvation. Still, their sin is what separates them from God, and it produces horrific consequences in their lives.

      God loves them and he hates their sin. If we love them, we should hate it too. Even as we hate our own sin.

      In short, I think loving some things means hating things. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    2. When others (or perhaps we ourselves) say they love the sinner but hate the sin, they(we) may claim we are showing them love by acting hateful – of their “sin” of course. Look at Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. First He saved her life. Second He said neither do I condemn you. Then He said go and sin no more. I think we would do well to follow that example.

  4. I agree…Dan, This passage has always been one that has come to mind when dealing with these matters. I love the example Jesus sets before us. The Lord knows what needs to happen. We need to flow with that. If mercy is needed, then we should express that mercy and empathy. If a firm hand is needed then we should express that. But all in all with the direction of the Holy Spirit as he is the only one who knows what is going on in the heart.
    Many of us have family and friends we love dearly that we want and endeavor to see come into the kingdom. I know I do. Finding that place where I show the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ and living out the Truth of God’s word is a hard balance to strike. Randy Alcorn’s book, “The Grace and Truth Paradox” is a great book that deals with that balance. I highly recommend it!

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