Monday, January 14, 2013

Forcing Hate

Do you love to hate?
You've heard "love the sinner, hate the sin." But striving to hate sin is a dead end that puts your mind on sin instead of on Jesus and loving others. Love the sinner, hate the sin says to people, "I love you but I'm gonna focus my hatred on your faults." Y'know because the smart way to love someone is to focus on their faults right?

1 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Love does not take into account a wrong." So it is impossible to love the sinner & hate the sin. If you hate their sin you've stopped loving them because you're keeping account of their wrongs to hate on. God's attitude toward sin is love's attitude. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says God doesn't hold any one's sins against them. God didn't ignore sin, He condemned sin in His flesh on the cross.

God will never make me feel shame or guilt for my actions. God will reveal truth to me & He still loves me so He will help me stop my harmful behaviors. There is no hate involved, just love.

I'm not saying it is wrong to have a distaste for evil. My beef is that "hate the sin" is phrased as a command. The idea behind the quote is that when someone does something "sinful" I am obligated to hate their sin, as if I am not allowed to love a sinner without hating their sin. All I remember Jesus doing was loving the sinner & confronting those who burden others.

God has never painfully shown me the truth unless that truth caused me to feel pain for another person because He revealed a piece of their heart to me. I honestly can't think of a time God even called me out for doing wrong. What happens in my life is God turns my mind naturally & immediately back to Him in most cases where I do something wrong. Not even in a, "Oh boy I'm thankful you forgave me" but more like I just forget about what happened (unless I need to reconcile with someone) & go on walking in the joy & peace of the spirit within moments of doing the wrong. That is the freedom of His love. I used to be burdened for days over screwing up now I am free & joyful in who God is even a moment after screwing up without even trying. He causes my focus to default on Him.

The context of John 16:8 says Jesus convicts those who don't trust in Him of sin. It says He convicts the people who trust Him of righteousness (a play on words that means he declares them "guilty" of not being guilty). "Convict" is a direct synonym of the word "condemn." Convict means "to declare guilty." Condemnation is a "pronouncement of guilt." Romans 8:1 says there is NO condemnation in Christ. God will not charge His child with guilt. (Accuse & convict are synonyms too). In the secular world "convict" is used to describe someone being found guilty in court & sentenced to imprisonment. So I wouldn't use that word because I feel it gives the wrong message to Christians & non-Christians alike.

God does refute us (sometimes translated as rebuke) which means He leads us out of false beliefs we have (such as "this isn't hurting anyone"). Hebrews 12 says that sort of thing can make us "sorrowful or irritated" but "afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Personally I haven't felt sorrowful or irritated over God refuting me because the truth is so much better than the falsehood I believed.

People shouldn't have to strive to hate sin. If you do you do, if you don't you don't. To force yourself to hate some one's actions actually makes you less loving toward that person. The way I've heard the "love the sinner, hate the sin" quote used most often is to basically say, "You can be friends with a 'sinner' but you have to let them know that you don't condone what they do & that you hate their sin." It almost comes across as "You're not allowed to love a sinner unless you also hate their sin, if you don't hate their sin you're a bad Christian & susceptible to becoming like them."

The quote isn't even from scripture. 2 Corinthians 5:16 says, "Do not regard anyone according to the flesh." While I can hate evil & try to protect those I love from it that doesn't mean I should deliberately hate some one's actions as the quote suggests. That is a terrible idea that makes it harder to love people. Ask yourself, How can I forgive someone while hating their sin?


  1. God hates sin Isa59:1,2 and others. If we have the mind of Christ we should be in agreement with Him. And if we don't have the Spirit of Christ which would give us the mind of Christ we are not saved Rom8:9 and others. Consequently we should hate sin. The first sin we should hate is our own or we cannot be saved. Jesus said repent or perish. Jesus didn't just "love" the sinner He confronted their sin. Hating sin does not make it harder to love people. Seeing how much we have been forgiven helps us to love people. If any man believes he is not a sinner is deceived I John 1:8

  2. Quoting scriptures that appear to contradict the scriptures I quoted doesn't really accomplish anything. I'd rather have someone tell me why I have misinterpreted the scriptures I've posted & how they actually mesh with the scriptures you've quoted.

  3. It is not as much a scripture problem as it is a prepositional problem. Your supposition was we should not hate sin and God will never make us feel shame over our sin. God never makes us feel shame but we should feel shame over our sin. We should not have to strive to hate sin but it should be a natural part of our Christian life because of the Holy Spirit's instruction in the scripture and because He indwells us. Sin is not only a problem of the flesh but is also a spiritual problem. It is your supposition that does not match scripture. Hating our sin drives us to Holiness. Remembering how much God has forgiven us of leads to loving others. It is not necessary to confront anyone of their sin unless it is your child and you are trying to train her up to love Jesus. But that is why the law is a perfect witnessing tool because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Paul calls the law a mirror. Unless a person sees their sin and hates it they will never be saved. We have the good news and we are told not to keep it to ourselves. Though God loves us enough to die for us He hates sin that is why He died. We have a sin problem even after we are saved. We are all learning as we walk with Him.

    1. I agree that it should be natural. I said, "People shouldn't have to strive to hate sin. If you do you do, if you don't you don't." If you strive then it is not natural.

      Why should I feel shame? I understand why I should feel compassion/empathy/sympathy for someone but why should I feel shame?
      One of the Greek words translated shame means "a turning in upon oneself." Is that good? How is self focus & sin focus positive for me?

    2. Feeling shame over your sin is not self focus. Feeling shame over your sin will help you not to repeat it. Isaiah saw God and said I am a man of unclean lips. That is shame over his sin. Shame also helps with confession. Sin should make you sick with shame.

    3. Isaiah said that & then God cleansed Him. Isaiah 6:7, "He touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

      My guilt was taken away at salvation & it is already atoned for.
      Hebrews 10:1-2 says, "The law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers ONCE purged should have had NO MORE CONSCIENCE OF SINS."

      Nothing in this world made me repeat sin more, for years & years, than feeling shame. I know of many people with the same experience. Shame is not positive. Shame is what makes people hide from God & be afraid of approaching Him. It is what happened in the garden of Eden.

  4. If god hated sin then why do we excist at all we were all born into sin, sin is apart of our flesh that's why we were born again in spirit the flesh is weak if we keep focus on our and others sin how are we able to learn to love? our sin is no different then anyone elses sin if we completely focus on ours and others sin we have no room in our hearts to grow and love others through god's promise which is the cross where our sin were forgotten and forgave! Its the whole reason jesus had to come god in the flesh to die of our sin so we would keep our eyes focus on the truth and the truth shall set us free!

  5. I know that in my walk to serve God, He convicted me of lots of sin in myself and I did feel deep remorse, which lead to true repentance on my part. He allowed me to feel the heart break that sin causes, in my OWN soul, Praise Him. Finally, He led my heart to break fully open, and it was through a 2 year healing process of being loved on, loving others and most of all repenting. I can see that love is the way to meet people and bring Jesus to them. THEN they can begin to heal enough to be convicted of their sin. Love the person but hate the sin? Thats kind of redundant, isn't it? I mean, who is the person who is truly saved and serving the Lord that is going to actually "love" sin? Thanks for your wonderful site. God bless!