Monday, March 5, 2012
Loving the Sinner
Last night I had a late night conversation that caused me to reflect on the way, we who profess to be Followers of Christ, communicate. A young adult woman, who was expressing her confusion in regards to Christianity, said she was very unhappy about how Christians spoke so hatefully about people who believed differently then they did. She said that she could not understand why Christians hated homosexuals, Muslims, or those who were of a different political persuasion. She was confused and even hurt at the hateful things she has heard people say. I could tell that, as far as she was concerned, she didn't want to be a Christian, if hating people was what was expected of her. For a few minutes I was in shock. I am sure that even as you read this you may be in shock too because as a follower of Christ the last thing a Christian thinks about is hating people. I asked my friend if she had ever heard me say things that sounded hateful and I was relieved to hear her say that no I had not but many others had. I then began to ask her what kind of things had been said. I began to realize that what was spoken from a passion for right and wrong was, in truth, interpreted as hatred for people. We have all heard it said, "Hate the sin but love the sinner.". I am sure you would agree with me that that is the right way to think however when we start expressing our hatred for sin, it becomes too easy to lump the sinner with the sin. Too often there becomes a hard tone in our voice when we talk about liars, adulterers, drug dealers. You name the sin we talk about it. Should we? Sure. But shouldn't we spend more time loving the sinner? After all how can we expect those who do not walk with Christ to have the same qualities as those who do? They just need Jesus? How can they change who they are until they change whose they are? As an illustration, today, we have a president who is mired deep in controversy, both pros and cons. I didn't vote for him, however he is my president and he deserves the respect and honor due him as president of the United States of America. Because of that I am also obligated to pray for him and for our nation. Why do I say that? Because I don't hate him. I dislike what he does and the decisions he makes. But hate him? No. I don't hate him, after all he is doing what he truly believes is right. And God loves him as much as He loves me. The same blood of Jesus was shed for him as it was for me. The same grace that is available for him is available for me. I just believe he is wrong. However, no matter what I believe , he still needs God's help to rule this Nation. He needs godly advisors and I have an obligation to spend more time praying and blessing him than complaining and cursing him. After all, people may get the wrong impression and think that I hate him. No wonder my young friend is confused!