Recently, I came across an article that disputed whether a Christian could really hate the sin and love the sinner. The author (and many commenters below the article) stated it was just a twist of words, believing it to be impossible to have such diverse feelings between a person and that which resides within them.
My answer to whether it is possible to do both is—well Yeah!
Have you ever known someone who had cancer? My guess is you have. Have you ever loved someone with cancer? Me too. Did I love their cancer? Hmmmm … let me think. Uh, no!!! I hated it with every fiber of my being. Why? Because it threatened to destroy the person in whom it took hold. In fact, the more I loved that person, the more I hated the disease.
So, too, is how I feel about sin. Not just for “the sinner” outside of me, but “the sinner” inside me. Like allowing cancer to fester results in death, allowing sin to fester does the same (Romans 6:21). That’s just the truth.
However, before you go around, spiritual doctor-bag in hand, there is one caution to this analogy. Though cancer treatment has saved many lives, there have been those who have died from its effects. Chemo is never pretty. As Christians, we should be careful before administering our idea of healing to an unwilling patient who is not able-bodied enough to endure it. Sometimes a soul needs to be nourished before we ravage the death-inducing cells.
So yes, you can hate the sin and love the sinner. Or better yet, love the sinner first—building her up. You do that enough and it may lead to a natural defense against evil. Who knows?
When do you most feel loved?
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