by Kenneth Justice
~”Hate the sin, love the sinner” Ever hear that before? Growing up in an Evangelical Christian community I heard it quite a bit. Oddly enough, I only ever heard it in the context of homosexuality…..and I never heard my brother and sisters in Christ say it about themselves.
After all….its not like homosexuality is the only behavior that Evangelical Christians object to…..but in all my years I never heard my fellow Christians say;
—) Hate the sin….but love the Christian who gossips
—) Hate the sin….but love the Christian who is an overeating glutton
—) Hate the sin….but love the Christian who doesn’t give a damn about the poor
Do you notice the trend; “hate the sin, love the sinner” has somehow become an evangelical talking point when it comes to the subject of homosexuality or gay marriage…….
I have serious problems with the attitude behind the mindset of ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’….because when we think this way it creates an “Us versus Them” mentality. Putting the issue of homosexuality aside, when we use talking points like “hate the sin, love the sinner” it relegates the person who says it to being nothing more than a cliché; a walking sound byte void of any sincere love and emotion for their fellow human beings.
For those of you who have children; how would your little ones feel if every day you threw in their face the things you believe is ‘wrong’ about them and you followed it with a trite sounding, ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ ???
The truth of the matter is that I know a lot of people who grew up in homes where their parent(s) were extremely critical and constantly confronted the children over every behavior and area in which the parents believed the children were ‘wrong’. That kind of home suffocates the children….and more often than not the children end up resenting their parents.
Most Christians believe that if the ‘bible says it’ then they have an obligation to hurl selected verses towards others and say, “hey, look, God says fill-in-the-blank is sinful, I’m just the messenger” and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who do this come off looking like nasty bible-verse slingers; its like they are Clint Eastwood with bible verses in their holsters ready to shoot any unsuspecting pedestrian who gets in their way.
“But Kenneth, I’m a Christian and the bible clearly says I have an obligation to tell others what the bible says!” is what many of my fellow Christians tell me.
Really??? Are you sure about that?
It always fascinates me that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ love to talk about ‘imitating Christ’ and doing what ‘Jesus would do’….yet they rarely admit a very simple observation; Jesus spent more time condemning the religious leaders and religious hypocrites than he spent condemning the average-Joe on the side of the road.
According to the CDC;
—) 69.2% of adults over the age of 20 are overweight
—) 35% of adults over the age of 20 are obese
Thus, we can expect that 69.2% of Christians are overweight and 35% of Christians are obese…….and yet even though the bible talks about gluttony and overeating between 50 and 100 times….I have almost never heard Christians walk up to each other after the Sunday morning service and say, “You are in sin because you’re fat…but even though I hate your sin I love you”
According to the Washington Post,
—) The average unsecured household debt in America is $15,000
The bible says that Christians are supposed to ‘bear each other’s burdens’ and to “make sure there are no needs among those in the church’….yet why aren’t Christians confronting the more affluent in the congregation and saying, “You’re in sin for not helping to alleviate the debt of the poorer Christians…..I hate your sin but I still love you”
So why don’t Christians regularly walk up to each other and focus on other sins that the bible clearly talks about and follow it with the little cliché ‘hate the sin love the sinner’……..because its not very nice to do that!
Because if you do that to other Christians at church on Sunday morning….they aren’t going to like you!
Do you see the problem with the ‘hate the sin love the sinner’ sound byte; Evangelical Christians who use it regularly have successfully created an ‘Us versus Them” culture war. They don’t use it on themselves because they wouldn’t have very many Christian friends if they did…….
Instead of ‘being like Jesus” and spending the majority of their time confronting religious hypocrites……sadly, my fellow Christians spend the majority of their time railing against non-Christians, people in other denominations, etc. and using trite little phrases like “hate the sin love the sinner”.
When Jesus wasn’t busy railing against the pastors and priests of his day….he was spending his time with the poorest of the poor. He was spending his time with the sick, the infirm, the hungry, widows, and people that the rich ‘believers’ did not want to spend their time around.
Perhaps I’m simply a loon, but the Jesus in the bible sure doesn’t look like the Jesus that a lot of my fellow Christians portray……..I think a really need another cup of coffee this morning,