Saturday

I despise your sin with a festering hatred...But I love you lots

Discussion I got into over at Relevant Magazine that started with a poster named "Doug":

Doug:  I'm sorry, I guess I'm just not familiar with these strange fundamentalist cults you are writing about (He's talking about Pentecostalism. I've never been to a snake handling church, but I'm told they exist). Outside of Westboro Baptist, I've NEVER heard of CHRISTIANS being admonished to either "hate sin" or "hate sinners." Only GOD can hate sin, which He clearly does, if you accept the testimony of Scripture. Christians are not called to hate anyone or anything. Just who is confused by this?
It IS true that the word "hate" has become a very loaded epithet that people freely use to shame and embarrass those whom they disgree with. It would be very helpful if someone wrote an article about how to unpack the meaning of Scriptures like "There are six things that God hates..." or "God is a jealous God" and how to explain them to people who recoil at those terms. But an article about how Christ-followers aren't called to hate? Unless maybe we also need an article about how nowhere in the Bible are Christians called to be rapists and child molestors. Otherwise, you're just wasting your bullets shooting at a dead animal... 

me: Bingo! Nowhere in the Bible are we told to "Love the sinner, hate the sin." Funny that the term was coined by a Hindu, not that there's anything wrong with being Hindu, it's just not wise to make a Hindu belief into Christian doctrine. There's a certain arrogance with that phrase, like somehow God has bestowed on you the power to hate someone else's short comings.

thespin: You are wrong about that, RQC. Here are a few verses from the New King James Bible:

"You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked." Psalm 97:10

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate." Proverbs 8:13

"Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph." Amos 5:15

me: First, Never does Jesus, Paul or anyone else in the New Testament give any kind of admonishment to love others, yet at the same time you are given permission to hate any part of that individual. When you feel you can do that, you fall in a Pharisaic way of conduct. The closest thing you can come to that saying is correcting your brother who falls in error and even then we are to bring correction in a loving way, personal "hate" is never a component of ANY of it. Second, The Old Testament verses you bring up are are of hating evil in the world, it's not talking about one person to another.

thespin: RQC, your reply is confused; please review it.

Meanwhile, hating sin is not the same as hating anyone. If you are saying that someone's BAD BEHAVIOR is an integral part of the person, then you are wrong. Bad behavior is usually a choice, stemming from a weakness that we need God's Help in overcoming.

GOD HATES SIN. We are to love what God loves and hate what God hates.
We are to HATE SINFUL BEHAVIOR EVEN IN OURSELVES!!!

me: What's confusing you about what I wrote my brother? You are placing yourself on a type of judgment seat with hating someone else's faults, only God should be sitting on that seat because we as humans will always judge another imperfectly. It's hard for us to say "adultery" and not "adulterer!" I also notice that the people who are the biggest with the saying "Loving the sin, hate the sinner" tend to be the most judgmental and justify themselves with that saying. We will ALWAYS sin, even as Christians we will always sin, so for anyone to start out with "I hate YOUR sin" is already going in the wrong direction.
Fine, hate your own sin, just don't let it go further than that.

thespin: You keep confusing the sin and the sinner, brother. I have no such confusion. We are forbidden to judge the HEART of the sinner; only God knows the heart. But we can and should judge behavior. If we couldn't, then we couldn't pass laws, juries could not find anyone guilty, and judges could not impose sentence.

me: Behaviour SHOULD be corrected, but that's not what we're talking about here. We are to to restore fellow believers who have a pattern of sin back to fellowship in a loving way without any element of hate. While with un-believers we are to preach only the "Good News" and love them as ourselves without any element of hate. Hate or hating should be a non-factor with how we are to be as Christians with others, believers or non-believers.
me: What happened to my avatar pic? I blame the anti-christ. lol

thespin: Apparently, you just don't like the word 'hate'.* Love the sinner and hate the sin - both ourselves and others. I know what love means. I know what sin means. Maybe you are confused.

me: I'm confused with what happened to my avatar pic.

*He says maybe I just don't like the word 'hate,' but isn't this what the whole discussion was all about? 'Hating' someone else's sin?

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