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"Hate the sin, love the sinner”

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Unbiblical and Wrong

I often hear this sage-like quotation used by Christians who want to defend their ‘loving’ of sinners. How many of these pious souls actually know where this quote comes from, because it is certainly not found in scripture! It could NOT be in scripture, because it clashes with what God says in His word.

The saying came from an Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi, in his 1929 autobiography! Though an Hindu it is surprising how many Christians use his sayings for their own purposes, as if they were equal to scripture. Some, trying to continue using an Hindu saying, like to suggest that though not Christian, it is a ‘summary’ of God’s teaching. I would like to know what teaching that is!

A similar saying often used, is that “God helps those who help themselves”. This, too, is assumed to have a biblical basis, but it actually came from Aesop, who said “The gods help those who help themselves”. Some think Gandhi got the saying from Augustine, who, in Letter 211 (about 424 AD), said “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitorium”. This approximates to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.” Even so, this is NOT a Biblical teaching, but a theological interpretation. Sadly, it is not a good one. What we are seeing is the advice of unsaved men being used to speak of Christian things. We can have agape for sinners, and yet be critical of them.

A more recent drive behind the ‘love’ saying is an unpublished encyclical by pope Pius XI (‘The Unity of the Human Race’), in which he said “Zeal against the sin readily becomes zeal against the sinner: but zeal against the sinner soon throws off its mask and shows itself for what it really is – an assault, under the pretence of protecting society from a single social group… an engine against religion itself.” But, the pope is only reflecting the hatred shown through the centuries by his own ‘church’! The pope was using the statement in a paper against anti-Semiticism, but many use it today to banish criticism of homosexuality. They say we must ‘love the gay’. No thank you! (I will explain later).

After saying that, why should we ignore the saying? We should ignore it because it makes no sense! And, more importantly, it does not agree with what God says about sinners. As one enquirer asked on an homosexual blog site: “Are you folks who believe in ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’ advocating treating a person differently because they are ‘in sin’?” Basically, yes, that is what we ought to do – because that is what God does. Otherwise, we are using an unbiblical saying to justify not being critical of sinners. To repeat: it is often used today by ignorant ‘Christians’ who think we must ‘love’ homosexuals (and others) even if we say their sin is evil. How is this possible, when God says in Romans 1 that their sin is an ‘abomination’ and those who practice it will end up in hell? And, anyway, how many Christians can truly say they hate a certain sin (whatever it is) but love the one committing it? They are either deluding themselves or lying.

Of those who worship idols (and that is what is happening with Obama), God said:

“I am the Lord thy God (and I am) a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth (generation) of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:5,6

In Deuteronomy 32:41, God says “I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.” David, in Psalm 69:14: “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of deep waters.” At times God did this by giving David victory in war or battles. How do people think we can find relief from our enemies? What is the warrant to show our necks to our enemies when there are ways to remove them or silence them through God’s ways? In many quarters to ‘love’ those who sin grossly means to literally ‘roll-over’ and become their doormat… not a very good Biblical model to follow!

To hate the sin and love the sinner is contradictory, for we cannot love the one who hates God! To love one is to love the other, for the sin emanates from the sinner. This is why David said “Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?” (Psalm 139:21). Note that all socialist regimes, from communist Russia, to China, to the current president and government of the USA, the UN and EU… all hate God; it is part of socialism. How can we love those who hate God? To do so is to love their hatred of God! And how can we pray for their well-being when what they do is anti-God? And how can we say we must support them because they are ‘put there by God’, when what they do is evil? To say so is to support evil and not God! All talk of ‘loving our enemies’ is totally separate from these issues. We cannot support any government that rises up against God.

In Psalm 139:22, David adds: “I hate them with a perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.” It is true that God will give us evil rulers because of our own sins and laxity, but this in no way excuses us from praying for their demise and removal. Indeed, David speaks of ‘beating down’ God’s foes and ‘plaguing them that hate him’. We must indeed pray for those who treat us badly on an individual basis, but we have no reason to pray for wicked men to continue generally, or for evil governments. Just as we cannot, by reason of logic, love everyone who sins, so we cannot pray for general enemies (such as socialism, governments, etc) if they hate God. But, we can show agape when personally abused, because then we see our enemy face-to-face and we are prompted in our spirits to do so.

There are many erroneous, unbiblical sayings used in the churches, and this is one of them. God hates and condemns all sin. It is His prerogative. We cannot support wicked men, movements and governments, because God despises them. David hated those who hated God – and so must we. Do not use unbiblical precepts!

© July 2010

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom