One of my favorite reads is the blog stuff Christians like. The writer does this amazing job at taking a second look at what we’re doing. He recently mentioned something in passing without exploring it, which is uncharaceristic.
The concept that he just mentioned was the idea of “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
This is sort of the equivalent, I think, of saying “You, you’re not like all those other” (fill in whatever opressed or minority group you’d like here.) The person saying it feels like he’s all hip and on the cutting edge. The person hearing it only hears what they percieve as ignorance.
If somebody said that they love me but that they hate something which I consider fundamental to my very identity, I would be– at best– annoyed. If they said “I love you but hate the fact that your liberal leanings.” Or “I love you but hate the concept of fatherhood in general.” Or “I love you but I hate all teachers” I would not express the appreciation this comment seems to want.
I know that we can argue all day that when we say these things, the things we hate is really sin, unlike fatherhood, teaching, etc. But in a way that’s the whole point: the people who we say these things to, generally they don’t see the issue– whatever it is– as a sin. It’s sensible for us to debate this point with them.
It’s even reasonable for us to do exactly what we say we’re doing: Love the person while hating that sin.
What’s not reasonable is for us to use this statement as a tool of evangelism. It’s unreasonable to expect that saying this is going to give a free pass to lecture and judge somebody.