Love and hate, sin and sinners

Instead of “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” try this: “Love the sinner, not the sin.” That puts a more positive spin on it, doesn’t it? Wish I could say this was original with me, but it’s not. And, really, not even with the guy who, I assume, coined it. (He’s apparently thinking of how Christians are seen out there in public.) See John 3.16.

I like the latter phrase over the former, but biblically both are a bit problematic. (Neither are quotes from the Bible, BTW.) The second one comes closer to being biblically correct, but it mustn’t overlook the opposition that God throws against sinners who oppose him.

In another vein, I took on the first phrase above, in the article “Hate the Sinner.” Paradoxically, perhaps, it is this “good hate” that allows us to fully love the sinner as God does. The hate and love of the sinner do not work against each other. On the contrary, one leads to another.

In God’s case, he did not create hell for mankind; it was “prepared for the devil and his angels” Mt 25.41. He desires to save, and he hates anything or anyone who stands in the way of that salvation.

Neither should we look at this love/hate combination as a difference between the Testaments. God is both judging and loving in both Old and New. This combination occurs in both, such as Psa 62.11-12:

God has declared one principle;
two principles I have heard:
God is strong,
and you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love.
For you repay men for what they do.

Let us hear these “two principles” yet today.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?