“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
How often do we use this line but in turn confuse the action behind it? This means LOVE the sinner, but actually HATE the sin. We, more often than not, accept the sin because we think this is how we are to love the sinner. However, Supporting Sin is NOT love. I know this is a scary topic, especially in today’s world where what is evil is made to look good and what is good is made to look evil. So when you are instructed to love the sinner but hate the sin it raises many questions. “Well, what are we supposed to do? Does the Bible not say “Judge not, lest you be judged? How do we do this while avoiding confrontation?”
These are all fair questions, to answer them we must first understand…
- what it means to “Love”
- that we are OBLIGATED to share the truth.
- the penalty of sin
- how God expects us to handle the situation.
What it means to “Love”
Love is a word so easily thrown around, but not always genuinely meant. Last Wednesday I started my 3 Part “Fruits of the Spirit” mini blog series. In this first blog, I wrote about Love, Joy, and Peace. Here is an excerpt better defining love as it is referred to in the bible.
“The first thing we have to remember about Love is that love is not always a feeling, but always a choice. Everyone is made so differently with different personalities, likes or dislikes, and some people can just be so unkind or cruel. Because of this it is nearly impossible to feel that lovey feeling towards them, but it is completely possible to make sure you SHOW LOVE with your actions. Choose kindness. Choose to sacrifice for the good of others. Putting personal feelings aside and choosing to put someone above ourselves…that is love.”
Choose to sacrifice for the good of others, putting personal feelings aside and choosing to put someone above ourselves..
People love their sin, or else we would be living in a world without sin today. And when someone loves or is addicted to a sin, it is not so easy to give it up. I understand the fear of addressing a sin of another. It is especially scary because you never know how they will react, more times than not they will react with anger, a “mind ya biz” attitude if you will. If you are like me you feel unworthy to address this sin because of past sin in your own life and in the end you are terrified you will end up losing a relationship you hold quite valuable.
Before addressing the sin of someone else we must first be sure that we are blameless, that we have turned from our sin before addressing theirs but also remember that even though you are risking the loss of a close relationship, the Bible tells us that love means putting the good of others above ourselves. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to save the soul of another. It won’t be fun. It won’t be easy. But, if you truly love someone, it is a necessity.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:6
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” Ephesians 4:15
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10
We are obligated to share the truth
Yep, you heard me right. Although we all have different personalities, spiritual gifts, traits, and attributes we are all given the same responsibility to spread the Gospel. In fact, I believe this is a main reason God made us all so differently. We each retain information different from others, so we need a variety of people teaching differently. You can share the truth through the spoken word, the written word, singing, drawing, telling stories, however God has called you to share this truth. What matters is he has called you. This is not an option, this a REQUIREMENT. Each and every one of us in Christ are OBLIGATED to share the truth.
If you choose not to, you are not then solely responsible for your choices, but responsible as well for those surrounding you that you made the choice to withhold this information. Ezekiel 3:20 states “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall surely die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.”
It is uncomfortable. Everyday people look at you like you’re crazy. It can be no fun at all and your feelings will get hurt. You will find yourself embarrassed, not by the word but by the attention speaking the truth draws to yourself but in comparison to what could happen if you chose not to step out in courage, hurt feelings don’t seem that bad at all. Be bold.
“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16
“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16
Understanding the Penalty of Sin
The real reason it is so easy for us to look over sin is because the punishment isn’t real to us yet. It is easy for us to look over our own sin because of this, so how much easier this makes it for us to overlook the sins of another. How can we help them clean up their mess if we are rolling around in our own. Well it’s time we take our head out from under the covers we love to keep ourselves buried under and face that unchanging truth.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
“The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” Psalms 145:20
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20
“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4
As much as we love to hide from these truths, we could go on and on all day about what God has to say about what is to come for the wicked. When that punishment arises, I do not wish to be of the wicked, and I do not wish for anyone, especially someone I love to be of the wicked. The world is mostly and purposely unaware of the punishment God has in store, use your knowledge and your love for one another to fuel your desire to help direct them towards the correct path.
How does God expect us to go about it?
You don’t have to stand in the streets and preach, unless other wise compelled. You don’t have to harshly state your opinion across social media. There is a reason the phrase “You catch more bees with honey” is so popular. This is because there is great truth to it. You have a better chance of reaching someone if you are reaching out in love. God understands this, so this was how he instructed us to spread the gospel, with love, gentleness, kindness, etc.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
No matter how much love you present when sharing the gospel with someone, to some it will not matter. Their hearts will be hardened and your words meaning nothing more.
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:4
“If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10-13-14
Do what you can. Love one another. And remember, you can love them without supporting their sin.
“I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.” Philemon 1:6