Why I Don’t Love The Phrase “Hate the Sin…Love The Sinner”

Have you ever heard somebody say “hate the sin….but love the sinner!.” Me too. I don’t love it.

Now I know that in one sense it rings true: we should hate sin because it is destructive, and we should love sinners because they are people (people who God calls our neighbors and commands us to love).

I guess what I don’t love is the tone.

You may be saying “hate the sin…love the sinner”….

But your tone tells me what you are really saying is “I am disgusted by the choices so and so makes…I wish they could see how much better their life would be if they were more like me….but I guess I am supposed to love them…I mean you never know….God may change their wicked hearts someday…and we may end up in the same Bible Study….so yes….hate the sin…but love the sinner.”

Here are three faults I find in this oh so common cliche:

1 It Creates An “Us vs Them” Mentality (Christian vs Non-Christian)

I usually hear this phrase from a Christian, talking about a non-Christian, and it seems to imply that Christians are no longer sinners. Say what?

Let’s be honest…we are all a mess…and we all have sin.

Now some of us sinners happen to be under grace (those that know Jesus), and other sinners are not (those that don’t know Jesus)…..but we are all in this “sinner” thing together.

2 Christians Don’t “Hate” Their Own Sin As Much As Their Neighbors

Again, I usually hear this this phrase coming from a Christian, talking about a non-Christian, and they are offended by the “sinners” lifestyle (which may include things like 12-14 too many beers on a Saturday night, bad sexual choices, and/or the vocabulary of a deep sea fisherman).

In hating the sin we see in the people around us, many of us miss the ways in which we sin everyday: greed, gossip, selfishness, unbelief, etc (just to name a few)

It’s all sin. It’s all destructive.

Your sin is not any prettier than your neighbors.

3 Show Me The Love!

All of us sinners need love! I do, you do, and so does your neighbor.

Show me the love!

When is the last time you really loved a sinner? Love may look like sharing a meal, starting a friendship, meeting some practical needs, and being open with the sinners in your life about how much of a sinner you are.

If you are not spending time with anybody that does not know Jesus please stop saying you love sinners.

If you do happen to know some sinners that don’t know grace…you may want to mention that you know the only one who really hates sin…and the only one who really loves sinners.

That would be loving.


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