I often hear the phrase “hate the sin, but love the sinner”. I do think this is an accurate statement. However, it is painfully obvious, at least to me, that most Christian do not realize the full importance of those seven words. I will get to that in a minute. First, I want to set up a little background for my observations.
When God felt it necessary to bring judgment on a people, He chose prophets to forewarn them of the impending doom. Two of those prophets were Jeremiah and Micah. Something is very interesting about these two men. The first, Jeremiah, I am sure you are familiar with as being “the weeping prophet”. The second, Micah, you may not be as aware. In Micah 1:8 (NKJV) it says: “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches”. As Micah was prophesying, He suddenly was overcome with the grief of what was to come. He would wail and mourn. Now ostriches make an awful mournful sound. It is so bad that if you hear it you will think some animal is in extreme distress! Then look at Jeremiah. He said in Jeremiah 9:1 (NKJV) “Oh, that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” These are men who are overcome by the judgment that was coming.
It seems that God, when choosing a man to foretell what is the end result of a person’s or nation’s behavior, chooses a man who understands His heart. He chooses a man who understands how much God wishes that this would not need to be. Ezekiel 18:23 says: “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”. This is how God feels.
Sometimes I think that Christians often relish in the idea that God is punishing someone. When someone crosses us, says something, or does something evil to us we all to often look to God to somehow make their lives as miserable as they have made ours. We take on an “us versus them” mentality.
Now what I am about to say can, and should, be applied to many areas. However, I am going to address a current national issue in America. When our Supreme Court made their decision on the rights of homosexuals and lesbians to marry and receive benefits under our system of government, the backlash from Christians was deafening! Suddenly, it became an “us versus them” issue. Let me tell you, that is exactly what the devil wanted us to do! Christians played right into his hand. What about love? And here is where I make my observations.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
We say we “hate the sin, but love the sinner”. But do we? Do we really love the sinner? Does it break your heart to see those who are sinning against themselves because you know what consequences are coming for them? Let me paint for you a picture of love.
There hanging on the cross, beaten beyond recognition, his beard plucked out by handfuls, a crown of thorns jammed into the already bruised and beaten head, His clothes ripped from him and gambled for right in front of His eyes, was our Savior. There on that cross, squinting through swollen eyelids with blood clouding His vision, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That, my friend, is love.
When we say, “hate the sin, but love the sinner” are we ready to go to this length to love him? Do we “hate the sin” so much that we cringe at the thought of what that sin might do to that person?
Until we know what pain the individual is going through, until it hurts us to think of what their lifestyle might bring them, until we wail and mourn for them, until we know how growing up with conflicting feelings inside felt to them, we have no right to speak. There are plenty of people who make themselves available to counsel these souls. Unfortunately, it is not the church. You see, the church is too busy praying for the wrath of God to fall. I am almost ashamed to be called a Christian because of those who react in such a way. But, God and I love those hypocrites as well.
When you look at the world, what do you see? Do you see the pain, the loneliness, the isolation, the hurt, the ruined lives or do you see only the sin. You are not qualified to say that you “hate the sin, but love the sinner” until you have agonized over the utter devastation that sin causes. The central truth of the Bible is John 3:16 (you have probably already quoted it before you read it). “For God so loved the world…” Do you know how God demonstrated His love? He gave. If you truly love the sinner you will do something as a gift to him. You will love him. Even if he is unlovable. Even if he takes pages out of the Bible and parades in the street wiping his posterior with them. Even if he openly flaunts his lifestyle in front of you. Even if he counts you as his enemy. You still love him. You still agonize over his condition of being alienated from God. You will be ready to go to extreme lengths to show him how much you care about him. You see, that is what our Father God did for us and he did it for them.
They will know we are Christians by our love, not our theology, not our Pharisaical attitudes, only by our love. I know you will say, “How can I love like that?” The answer is “you can’t” by yourself. That type of love is a God kind of love. It is the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love…” When you are full of the Spirit of Holiness you will have love. You will have the kind of love that is God’s love. The kind that does not consider a suffered wrong.
Let His Spirit fill you today. Let Holy Spirit cry out for the world through you with “groanings that cannot be uttered”. Watch what happens when you begin to travail for the lost of this world. Watch how Holy Spirit open up opportunities for you to bring those who have hated you so long to a saving relationship. Love never fails.
I know our nation and our world is a mess. Chaos reigns. But I believe that just as in Genesis where it say that the Spirit of God brooded over the waters, that He is brooding over the nations of this world. (It is interesting to note that water is often used as a metaphor for nations). Holy Spirit is grieving, will you allow Him to pour His love for mankind into your heart? If so, get ready for you will be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. You life will change. More importantly God will finally have someone who will bridge the gap and make up the hedge for this nation.
When we get a movement going of people with this kind of love, we will see righteousness return to our nation and our leadership will begin to change and we will be able to restore righteous rule over America. Then laws will change that are righteous laws. Babies will no longer be slaughtered. Terrorist will no longer be tolerated. Peace will be in our borders and we will return to being a “city set upon a hill”.