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Hate the sin, love the sinner? 
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So, we've all heard the Christian adage "hate the sin and love the sinner". This article raises a very good point though. By that adage, we forget that we too are sinners. It automatically makes it an "us versus them" issue, regardless of the sin in question. And that's exactly how the Pharisees acted, the very opposite to what Jesus did. It automatically defines people as either "sinners" or "Christians" rather than just appreciating us for what we all are - human.

Remember how Jesus acted. How he said to the woman "Go, and sin no more." and how he told the Pharisees and others "if any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone." He reminded us that there is no "us versus them", "Christian versus sinner" divide. We're all human and we're all sinners in our own right and we're all called to love and support each other unconditionally.

For that reason, I agree with the article. I think the aforementioned adage should be left to the Pharisees and we should get back to the roots of what Christianity is and was always meant to be about - support, encouragement and above all, love.

What do you guys think?

Note: The article talks about that adage with reference in particular to homosexuality but I think it equally applies to any sin hence why I've put this here and not in Serious Discussion. Let's keep the homosexuality debate out of this topic and just talk about the adage, please! :)

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Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:25 pm
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Yeah, I've always felt a bit of a passive aggression to that phrase. As if the person saying it is looking more to tell themselves they're being loving than actually having the "sinner" feel loved. Of course a lot of people probably say it with 100% good intentions, but intentions sadly don't mean everything!

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Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:38 pm
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Interesting difference of opinion here.

I've always included myself in the phrase, and so never saw it as a form of othering.


Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:15 am
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I've always thought of it as love sinners, but don't go so far as to encourage or participate in the sin just because you love them - you wouldn't be doing them or yourself any favors by doing so.


Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:38 am
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We should keep in mind that how something comes across is more important than how you meant it.

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Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:49 am
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Sleet, I had nothing specific in mind when I said that; if I hurt you or anyone else I'm sorry. But the fact remains that that statement is true for all sin - you wouldn't help someone rob a bank or assist in their suicide because you love them; you could, however, lend them money or get them professional help.


Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:18 pm
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I'm not making an accusation, I'm just reiterating what the article Furrhan shared pointed out.

Heck, I'll go so far as to say I've literally never heard the phrase in question said without any judgment attached.

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Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:43 pm
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Nope. Never heard of it either.
But I know that beyond the sin is the person that deserves God's love. It's the wall of sin around them that makes them a target for our discontent. Where our vision stops, God looks further, deeper. He sees your true colour shining trough. He sees the true colour and that's why He loves us. Also, because we're all humans, don't think He overlooks someone. He wouldn't dare to, if you'd ask me.
Of course I'm not saying sin is good. Obviously it isn't. I think the phrase...

Wait a minute. I think I get it!
The phrase is causing a dilemma. On the one side: love the sinner. The other: hate the sin carried by that person.
The dilemma is caused when we can't disconnect the two from each other. See the sin as a art of the sinner, if you will. Then you'll get a weird hate/love mixture which is likely to result into an avoidance of the problem. After all, isn't that the easiest road to take? Still, I've heard way too often that avoiding the problem doesn't solve it. And then we'll have to choose. Until we disconnect the sin from the sinner we'll be stuck calling them "different" because we hate their sin, and with that a part of the sinner. We'll have to love what we hate. Double, I know, but this is the most logic explanation I can give.

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Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:22 am
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Interestingly, that phrase isn't even in the Bible. So why do Christians even use it if it's so divisive and wasn't even what Jesus taught? I can agree wholeheartedly with the first part, but the second part is too easy to interpret as judging. Maybe "don't judge the sinner for the sin" would fit better.

There is an example where I could see "hate the sin" as being non-judgemental, though: Some actions lead to sinful behavior in some people, but not with others. It's not that the former is judging the latter for doing that action - they just know that it would destroy them, so they avoid it by shunning it. The second group might misconstrue it as disapproval of them, when in reality it's just someone trying to get rid of their own demons. Addictions are a good example.


Last edited by Douglas Collier on Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:42 am
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This entire strand of thinking appears to be a weakening of: 'Judge not, lest you be judged.'

Ultimately, judgement rightly and only belongs to God, we are fallen and loved. If we weaken our love for someone else for what they have done, how they are, we weaken ourselves and become the greater sinner.

It is quite prevalent where any concept of theologia naturalis or natural theology has been lost. It forgets that the entirety of creation has been redeemed through Christ. What belittles or lessens another's struggling is to forget this. God is in the all encompassing love given to us. I'm not saying love the sin; sin is wrong, it casts us away from God's love, but as has been said: the person is more important that the action. We are saved in ourselves, not our doings.

Love the sinner and not the sin by all means, but remember (as is said by the priest at the end of sacramental confession): 'Pray also for me, a sinner.'

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Fri Jan 06, 2017 5:54 am
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Douglas Collier wrote:
Maybe "don't judge the sinner for the sin" would fit better.

Hmm... I think I actually like that expression. It's even more important when you are looking at your own sins: "hate the sinner, not the sin", when applied to a sin of your own, will make you hate something that is an (at that moment) inseparable part of you, so you are still hating yourself. When pushed to extremes, hating yourself will lead to significant mental issues. Viewing it as "don't judge the sinner for the sin" will focus you on not judging your own being for the things you do.

Douglas Collier wrote:
... they just know that it would destroy them, so they avoid it by shunning it. The second group might misconstrue it as disapproval of them, when in reality it's just someone trying to get rid of their own demons.

The idea behind that is understandable, but I think reacting to sin in such a way is not very productive. You are actually projecting your view of your own behavior onto others, who don't necessarily have the same impact from it. A better approach might be to explicitly call it out as a trigger for yourself. E.g. "I have to admit that I have some serious personal problems with (behavior X), and I even get into trouble with myself when you talk about it. I'd be very grateful if you would warn me beforehand next time you want to talk about it, so I can discreetly remove myself to avoid that trigger."

But yeah, that is of a level of self-understanding and communication that I have heard being referred to as 'advanced adulting'.

(EDIT) the idea is understandable, not good

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Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:47 pm
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I agree with you Tayi, one should be more honest and open about their faults so others are able to understand and even help - but a lot of the time they're more worried that they'll be looked down upon themselves; it's the same situation but in reverse. Unfortunately the person has little faith that Christlike love will be shown them - that's a tragedy.


Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:30 pm
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it seems like a plausible idea but I still cringe when I hear it. I like the idea of loving the person sin and all as we all have sin in our lives but don't condone sin and maybe, and always be a good example! Pointing out peoples sins never works in my experience, but at the same time in some instances its okay to gently correct people in a loving non judgmental manner.


Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:21 am
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Refusing to judge people for their sins is not the same as condoning the sin. It just means we don't hold the sin against them and we treat them just like we'd treat anyone else despite the sin. You're right that it is, in some circumstances, definitely appropriate to gently point out when our brothers in Christ are going astray though.

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Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:54 am
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I don't even want to go as far as to correct people (even though I probably still do...), just point out to them if there are any ways that their sin actively hurts others. Of course the simple solution (for the proposer) to that is 'just don't sin at all', but there are usually plenty of other ways in which that hurt can be prevented.

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Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:05 am
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Oh yeah. Hence me saying "some" circumstances. There's not really any need to point out the sin unless either the sin is hurting someone else or it's putting the sinner in grave danger.

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Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:24 am
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I don't think saying "as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else" is helpful. When you sin, you're harming yourself spiritually. Would you go to a counselor and say, "I'm cutting myself, but it's okay; it's not hurting anyone but me"? Of course not!

Psalm 4 says to "be angry and do not sin". I wondered what it meant until a friend said you can get angry at Satan- the real source of sin and misery of all kinds. It's wrath directed the right way: at the enemy of mankind and God. Plus when you're mad at Satan, I think it's hard to see another human being as "the enemy".


Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:19 pm
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Plus it helps us to forgive people. When somebody hurts us, it's natural to get angry, but it's important to divert that anger away from the person, just the imperfection that motivated them to do something wrong.

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Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:30 pm
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Seff wrote:
I don't think saying "as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else" is helpful. When you sin, you're harming yourself spiritually.

Of course sin is not good, it's just that if we focus on denying people their less harmful sins -- even denying them thinking about those sins -- we will end up with people no longer able to contain themselves, manifesting in big sins that typically affect a lot of bystanders.

Also don't forget that everyone has already been harmed spiritually by being in this world. That harm needs a way out and I'd much prefer people to be able to indulge in a necessary amount of less-harmful sin than that they hurt others or be miserable for their entire lives. Miserable people do not have the energy to be there sufficiently much for the ones around them.

Seff wrote:
Would you go to a counselor and say, "I'm cutting myself, but it's okay; it's not hurting anyone but me"? Of course not!

Hmm... that would be kinda hard, because I think that that sentence is self-contradictory; people that harm themselves probably wouldn't be in the mindset to downplay it in such a direct way.

However, it would be more than reasonable to go to a counselor and say, "I'm hurting myself, but at least it's keeping me from harming others." Counsel can then help to try to find even less harmful ways of dealing with the problems at hand, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect people to be able to live their life without hurting (in some way or another) anyone at all.

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Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:07 pm
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Jesus is merciful with everyone, but He judges them according to their acts. God loves everyone as they are His children, but He hates sin. Even: "Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked."-Psalm 97:10.

I love and respect with my all my soul my gay siblings, but the Spirit never allowed me to respect the gay in them. Now in the New Age society has decided to finally show love and compassion to our homosexual neighbors, but tragically they also began to show love and compassion to the homosexual sin too. Many of us argue that God does not condemn this sin, even thou the apostles, the Jews before us, the early church, and God Himself have shown the contrary. God made us in His image, but we are now making God in our image.

Kill the flesh and strengthen the Holy Spirit inside of you, put on the full Armor of God and prepare for the battle against the Enemy now that his dark kingdom has never been more stronger than before. Jesus has foretold all of it.


Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:29 pm
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