In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Can we hate sin and love the sinner?

I hear the phrase "I hate sin but love the sinner" frequently uttered by Christians. Do you think we can really do this?

I think one of the big issues facing America today that really pushes this question is homosexuality.

Recently the ECLA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) took loving to the point where a controversial vote was held in August by the denomination's chief legislative body to approve a resolution allowing noncelibate gays and lesbians to be ordained. I understand that those who voted yes in August felt that gays and lesbians need to be included in church life and that only allowing them the opportunity to be pastors, the same as everyone else, really does that. It was looked at as a civil rights issue.

This has resulted in lots of Lutheran churches withdrawing their membership. The entire Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) now has a strained relationship with the ECLA. When the LCMS leaders met in September, they agreed that despite differences over human sexuality, the churches should continue working together as much as possible when it can be done without compromise. The work the LCMS was referring to was Lutheran Services in America, which provides a variety of human services through social ministry organizations, and Lutheran World Relief, and an international relief and development agency. [The LCMS is the eighth largest Protestant religion in the US, and the second largest Lutheran group, second only to the ECLA; it represents around 2.4 million members.]

I'm not Lutheran, but I've always seen Lutherans as the great opportunity for Protestants who want to enjoy the liturgical aspects of faith. So I've closely watched this whole scene play out before my eyes. I've struggled, agonized, with the issues as if it were my own church. Because, when it's all said and done, it is-we're all part of the same body, the same Christ. We all want to be true to God's word, and be loving. How that looks can sometimes become confusing. This whole issue that Lutherans are struggling with underscores the pivotal question of what actions demonstrate love.

I recently watched this profound short video, over at

I'll give you that it's rather obvious that name calling and mimicking someone is clearly not loving. But are we name calling if we say the lifestyle they are choosing is sin and so we can not ordain them as pastors? That we would not ordain anyone involved in lifestyle sin (as opposed to someone who sometimes just messes up and repents and moves forward) that they are saying is not sin, to be a minister?

What do you think? What actions do you think demonstrate love toward someone who is involved in sin? How can you separate loving the person from hating the sin?


Denise said...

We must love them like Jesus.

photogr said...

In a sense, We are all sinning but God still loves us none the less. I guess there are different levels of sin though.

As Jesus healed and spoke to those sinning, He said or asked "sin no more".

We can only do the same.

Paul clearly states in the bible about homosexuality being wrong. Do we abolish them from our society? Only if we are hypocrites.
All that we can do is show then love and pray they change their lifestyles.

It will be up to the Lord to judge them in the end.

Hailey's Beats and Bits said...

what would Jesus do, i wonder?

Michelle said...

I believe we love someone when we speak Truth to them, even when it's offensive. We hear folks say that God loves the sinner but not the sin. I have to say scripture disagrees when it states God hates all workers of iniquity. I believe in the question you ask, the word love must be defined. Do we save our brother when they are making a decision that may lead to death? Or because it may offend them, do we just let them do it so they will feel good and secure about himself. Which of these is an example of love?

The whole ordination thing is iffy because of the fact that we all live in sin and why do we hold homosexuality above other sins?

BeadedTail said...

I agree with what everyone else has said. I have never understood how some feel like they can judge others without looking in the mirror themselves.

jenny said...

I have experience that very same thing: hating the sin but loving the person who did it.
It's pretty hard.

~*Michelle*~ said...

convicting video!

I would like to think that although we don't approve/support certain actions/behavior/lifestyles....we call called to love and accept all people as Jesus did.

Jesus said he came for the sick...the "healthy" do not need a doctor. The way I view it, we all are in need of The Physician in one way or another.

GCT said...

Why do you all claim that homosexuality is wrong? Simply because the Bible says so? I hope that you all someday come to recognize that it's not wrong and reject the immoral teaching of the Bible. It's a good first step to be accepting of homosexuals, but true acceptance means that you don't simply tolerate while also condemning.

Tracy said...

Yes GCT, simply because the Bible says something is wrong - I believe it.

None the less, everyone does wrong, and I want to treat people good.

~*Michelle*~, I too found that video convicting. I so do NOT want to be a person who is unloving toward people who do not think the same way I do - by God's grace and power, I want to be generous and loving to everyone who I encounter (even when I don't feel like it).

Michelle, I agree that we ALL sin. But I do think there is a difference betwen a person who is in a lifestyle sin that he/she is proclaiming is not a sin and a person who sometimes blows it. I believe that both types of people are valuable to God; but I think it's preposterous to ordain someone who is in a lifestyle sin that he/she is proclaiming not to be sin as a minister. Those in leadership are held to a higher standard because they need to help out and serve as an inspriation to others.

GCT said...

This may sound harsh, but here goes:

You are neither loving the sin nor the sinner.

Homosexuals don't choose to be homosexual anymore than you chose to be attracted to men. It's not that they think differently from you, because they don't. They want the same things that most of the rest of us want. They want to find love, happiness, and security with someone that they love. I honestly don't understand what is so wrong about that.

If two homosexuals want to have a relationship, who does it hurt? Does it hurt you? Does it hurt god? It's a victimless "crime," yet they are persecuted for simply being who they are and being attracted to a sex that they had no control over. When did love become a sin? I strongly urge all of you to think about that. These aren't deviants, they aren't simply in rebellion, they're normal people just like you and me.

Please don't seek to discriminate against people simply because of how they were born. To me, that's no different than saying that because someone was born with a different color skin that they are somehow wrong.

Tracy said...

GCT - I definitely agree with you that homosexuals are people just like me, that they have the same needs and desires for general life. I have a couple of close friends and business connections that are homosexuals.

GCT said...

Then treat them like people who are just like you, not as deviants who are in a "sinful lifestyle." When the sin is part of the sinner in a way that it's not chosen and it's part of their normal, human expression, then you can't hate the sin without also hating the sinner. We really shouldn't be talking about homosexuality as a sin anyway. god screwed up that one.

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