But the Bible says “to hate” . . . What do we “hate?”
The ideas behind “love the sinner, hate the sin” are actually scriptural, just a little misconstrued.
In yesterday’s devotion we explored where Jesus called out the religious leaders for their condemning nature.
Jesus was also rather clear . . . we are called to love. Yet – he did not say, “Love the sinner.” He said, “Love your neighbor.” In the eyes of Christ – Sinner and Neighbor are synonymous.
The Hebrew word for sin, hata, and the Greek word for sin, hamartia, both mean to miss the mark or to stray from the path.
Thus, sin would be that which causes us to stray from the path of God’s will. Yes, we each have different pathways in life we are called to travel upon. However, the ultimate path of God’s will for every human being is to travel a path of Love. Loving God, Loving Self, Loving One Another.
Scripture talks about a myriad of “sins.” It seems as a society we like to hone in on a few things that we deem “sin” and forget about some of the others.
Ever stop to wonder why? We seem to be fascinated with the “wrongs” of others and make those a very big deal. Maybe because it hits a little too close to home to begin ridding ourselves of the things that cause us to stray from the path of God’s will for each of us.
Maybe we don’t like to admit our faults.
Modern day theologian Richard Rohr writes of our “shadow side.”
We each have one . . . it is anything that we can’t or won’t see about ourselves, the parts we feel so deeply ashamed of that we hide them from ourselves and others.
We have an amazing capacity for self-deception, so our shadows are often very well hidden. Because of this they tend to have a lot of power over us.
A clue that we are acting out of this shadow side of ourselves is any time we react strongly to something, in a way that’s disproportionate to the circumstance, or if we are too anti-anything.
A very familiar example is when we feel passionately about something, and have a burning need to rant about it, or to have someone agree with us about it.
This is giving us a clue that there is something strong inside of ourselves that is unexpressed, driving these emotions.
This shadow side often is expressed by condemning others. “Hating their sin.”
Perhaps in our disgust at their actions, we have some inward fears of our own.
Are the sins you “hate” those that cause great oppression to others? Racism? Sexism? Gender bias?
Are we livid about the oppression people face in our world every day?
Are we angered about the poverty that exists in our world and that children die every day from not having enough to eat yet in our country we throw food away?
The Apostle Paul did write in Romans 12,
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Hate what is evil is not the same thing as “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
May we be careful that our own inner darkness does not drive us to be condemning of others.
Let us hate that (evil) which causes others harm and let us hate that enough to stand in the way of the harm of humanity. Very different from “loving the sinner and hating the sin.”