My response to “Why I Can’t Say ‘Love the Sin/Hate the Sin’ Anymore”

“Christian” can mean many different things when spoken by people. But that doesn’t mean they are all right. In fact, it is not even incorrect to say that one person can be right. That being said, the “most right” person doesn’t actually have everything right. That being said, I am implying that I am not completely right. I can say that I have had training and education in these matters, and have taken them to heart, studying multiple points of view, and have come the conclusions found in this post. 

The article I am going to be quoting from is : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/micah-j-murray/why-i-cant-say-love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin-anymore_b_4521519.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

It was an interesting article. Murray made some valid points, and yet also needs to be clear about certain aspects. This also proved to be a great chance for me to “think online” (rather than out-loud).

Let me first say this: the Church over the past century (though, to be honest, there have been huge oversights since its inception) has really dropped the ball on how they approach public sin. Witch hunts, slavery, race/gender equality. Then you have the active&passive approach to “internal sin,” or sin committed by “believers.” Extra-marital affairs, gambling, alcoholism, pedophilia… the list could go on and on. So, how can a church (notice the lower case c) like that possibly call out other sin?? This seems to be the tone of the aforementioned article.

This article is by no means a bad one, with only emotional rhetoric. It has very poignant points, and a decent message. But theologically, it is quite flawed. Murray rightly points out that for far too long the “Christian church” (again lower case) has screwed up mightily in how to deal with sin, in general – let alone specific sins. There has always been some sin that was “too much to bear.” Yet, let us look at Scripture:

  • Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God
  • Isaiah 64:6 – even our righteous deeds are like nasty, filthy, menstrual rags (a more accurate Hebrew translation)
  • Galatians 5:19-20 – “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,  idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,  envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.”

Paul ends that passage saying that such people will not enter God’s kingdom. Yes, God does choose to elect some to reprobation – to damnation. But look at that list of sin – which is just one of many in the OT/NT. It covers just about everything! There is not just one sin that is considered heinous enough to deny you entrance to heaven. At least not one that man considers terrible. All sin is sin. You sin, no entering heaven for you, regardless of how man sees the action. (There is one sin: to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But that speaks to a much more serious grievance. That is for another time.)

So, back to the article. He wants to make it clear that he loves the person who does X sin. Of course, because of the cultural climate that sin is homosexuality. Murray wants the supposed reader to see that he still loves them regardless of what Christians may think. It just seems like he overcompensates.

“He could have said “You’re a sinner, but I love you anyways.” But she knew she was a sinner.” The thing is, Jesus always allows the sin to be made plain. BUT he made a great point, that He wouldn’t allow Himself to join in on pushing someone already put down any further. Murray truly does hit the nail on the head there.

My biggest frustration is his emotional reaction to a very emotionally driven issue. The homosexual issue in this world, is one of sin. If we as Christians are to compromise on what is true in this world – we will lose this world… even more than we already are. Now, with that said I would never mean to say put the sinner down, or ostracize them, or hate them… no… never that… that is the exact opposite of Christ. Now, I also want to be clear that I dont have the answer… and I know that I dont have the answer. I can say this though… I sin daily… all the time… too much. But I know that I do…

I have to say though, you do have to hate the sin. Sin is bad. It is lawlessness (1John3:4). You have to reject the sin in your life, and repent from it. Do a complete 180* – see sin as God sees sin. That is to say, see it as it is – evil, terrible, wrong, destructive, and eternally disruptive.  And you do love the sinner. We are called to love everyone. Think about it, you love your friends… your family… nice people… kind people… etc… But we are called to love our enemies too. And if we align ourselves with Christ, His enemies are our enemies. And His enemies are those who work against Him – thus sinners. We still need to love sinners, but not to accept or love their sin. But you can be a sinner, yet be elect to eternity with Christ. That is to say, being saved in this life doesn’t mean you suddenly are perfect before God right now. That is why we have sanctification. You will fight your specific sin temptation until the day you die. But when you are in Christ each day that battle becomes easier, and His light in you grows stronger. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t times certain battles overtake you, and you retreat back into your sin. That will happen. But thanks be to God that His Son will come into that little cave where you try and keep your sin hidden – He will flip the switch (this cave has running electrical outlets) and brighten up the darkness. Then, at the end of your life, after all the fighting and becoming more sanctified, you are glorified and at the side of our Elder Brother.

So, with a final word: a call to any and all Christians reading this post. First, understand I have been trying to write this for like a week, working on the words to use – and I’ll admit that I got somewhat distracted as I wrote. SO, let me know if I need to clarify anything. Second, take something from Murray – do not ostracize the sinner. Love them, treat them as a human made in God’s image. Do not judge the non-Christian by Christian standards… that doesn’t make sense. BUT if you run into a Christian who lives drenched in sin – that is something we are called to oppose. So, to my friends and family who may read this – if I am living a life unworthy of the salvation I claim to cling to, call me out on it. Don’t let me live in filth because I look comfortable, or it would make you uncomfortable to tell me about the truth of my situation. That is the problem with Christians today, they are either all in (shunning the sinner) or all out (negating the sin). Let this post be an encouragement from both angles. And let us all exclaim with Paul when he said:

“Wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this body of death? THanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Romans 7:24-25

{and really, if you are confused, let me know!}