I can’t “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

by | Jul 13, 2015 | Faith

I use to say, “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

It made sense. I love people. I hate sin.

I can love the sinner and hate their sin.

Simple, right? Nope!

I can’t say ‘I hate your sin’ when I have more than enough sin of my own to hate.

I can’t say it. I won’t say it. I’m done.

SCOTUS ruled in favor of same sex marriage, and Christians everywhere are shouting their views and opinions from the rooftop. The phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin” is being used by Christians everywhere.

Why is this phrase used almost exclusively in reference to those in the LGTBQ community?

I refuse to further target and ostracize the LGBTQ community.

Why are they the biggest target of our judgment?

Yes, the Bible says we have all sinned. We all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

We all love sinners simply by loving others.

Why do we need to put a disclaimer on our love?

“I love you, but let me point out your sin that I hate.” It’s a very judgmental phrase, and despite the word “love” it’s not a very loving phrase. It’s love with conditions. “I love you, but…”

That’s not how Jesus loves.

Jesus doesn’t say, “I love you, but…”

He says, “I love you.”

He sees past the sinner. He sees a person.

I wonder what this phrase sounds like to those who identify as gay.

“I love you, but I hate your lifestyle.”

“I love you, but I hate how you identify yourself.”

“I love you, but I hate the choices you have made.”

“I love you, but I hate the way you were born.”

“I love you, but I hate you.”

I know the intentions aren’t to say, “I hate you.” It’s the opposite of what the phrase is trying to say, but it sounds a lot like hate.

I won’t perpetuate the hate. 

It’s not my place to judge.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

– Matthew 7:1-5

I do not want to dismiss the importance of accountability. If I think my Christian friend is stumbling, I will speak up and engage in conversation. I need to be careful not to judge or make any assumptions. These conversations with friends are best done one on one with gentleness, love, compassion, and understanding. I do not need to shout my love with a disclaimer from the rooftop.

I want to be a person of love.

I don’t want to be a person full of judgment.

I want to be a person of hope.

Pastor Michael Palmer wrote a powerful article and asks the tough question, “Are we really a people of hope?”

He asks a lot of hard questions. It’s definitely worth the read.

Do we not see the ways in which the Community of Healing has become the Community of Exclusion and Rejection?

Michael Palmer


We need to learn to love better.

We need to love people without a catch.

We need to love people unconditionally.

We need to love people for who they are and where they are.

We need the church to be a place of hope.

We need the church to be a place of healing.

I wonder what would happen if we loved and embraced people without trying to change or “fix” them. I wonder what would happen if we focused on community and friendships instead of curing. I wonder what would happen if we welcomed LGBTQ people into our churches without judgment. I wonder what would happen if we stepped out of the way and let grace spread like a wildfire. I wonder what would happen if  let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting without assuming there is lifting to be done.

It might make us a little uncomfortable.

Things might get a little messy.

God works in mysterious ways.

I have faith it will all work out.

I have faith, hope and love.

In the end, love will win.

You can find me on Twitter @janae_meyer

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This is a blog for challenging assumptions, building faith, and developing a stronger community. The two channels of this blog – Faith and Narrative – push us to know ourselves and the world around us more intimately. Want to learn more about us?

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