Monday, January 14, 2013
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?