Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner: Is this even possible?
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has a light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14
As part of God’s family, we become more discerning of what is acceptable to God and not. Our new nature makes us despise wrongdoings. Admit it or not, it is so easy for us to be uncomfortable when we know that the unbelievers around us are committing sin.
But how are we really to respond to such situations? Let’s look at Jesus’ example.
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gatherings around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?’” – Luke 15:1-4
When the Pharisees called Jesus a ‘friend of sinners,’ it was to insult Him. Ironically, they just reflected the reality of Jesus’ love and longing for the lost. He came to earth, not for the righteous, but to seek and save the sinners (Luke 19:10).
Befriending the sinners didn’t mean that Jesus tolerated their sin or took part in their destructive behaviour. He lived a holy, sinless life, but still spent time with sinful people.
This is to show us that everyone may experience life transformation if we would only repent – ask for forgiveness, receive Him as our Savior, and turn back from our old ways.
Even on our original state – sinful, filthy, hopeless – Jesus proved Himself to be the best friend we could ever have. Jesus sacrificed His very own life for us (John 15:13).
He saw us in our worst situations, yet loved us just the same, He saved us not for our righteousness, but because of His mercy (Titus 3:5)
Therefore, as Jesus’ followers, we are to do the same.
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” – Matthew 5:44, 46
Being kind to kind people is easy. Giving to those who are generous to us is easy. Loving those who do us good is easy. Even unbelievers can do that.
However, the one who loves the least loveable, the arrogant, and the immoral is the true Christian. Because we are followers of Jesus, instead of disliking those who wrong us, we forgive them and understand their need of a Savior.
We are not to condone the sin, but not condemn the sinner either. And we must hate the act but love the one who took action. We are to attack the problem, but not the person.
By so doing, we can pass down to others the unconditional love that we have received from Jesus.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
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