I've seen a link on Facebook to a quote by Mark Lowry. It's an intriguing quote:
Love the sinner and hate the sin? How about: love the sinner and hate your own sin! I don't have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you. Hating my sin is a full-time job. How about you hate your sin, I'll hate my sin and let's just love each other.
At face value, this sounds pretty good. I mean, it would seem to follow right along with Jesus' teaching about removing the log from one's own eye before trying to remove the speck from one's neighbor's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5) Yet, in practice? To really practice such a thing?
Let's say a particular Christian business owner pushes his employees to the limit. He pays them minimally. He offers poor health insurance. He doesn't give personal days or allow for family emergencies. "Your father die? Sorry, you have a job. I can't afford to give you time off with pay. You don't work, you don't get paid." The business man commits injustice after injustice, and we aren't supposed to hate the sin, confront the sin, and hold the gent accountable?
A guy walks into a movie theater and guns down a bunch of patrons. We aren't supposed to hate what he did? We're just supposed to concentrate on loving the guy?
While I understand what Lowry is trying to say, perhaps he could have said it better. I posted once before on this whole love the sinner/hate the sin issue. Some folks are uncomfortable with the saying. I understand that, but the reality is, the saying is truthful--and necessary.
Hating the sin leads to action. The very fact God hates our sin led Him to action--first to try and get us to stop by giving us the law and punishing us when we failed to follow it, and then through a response to the grace bestowed by Jesus' death and resurrection. God doesn't stop hating our sins. Period. You would be hard pressed to find any scripture which argues for such a thing.
And there is a little passage from the book of Ephesians (5:1) which gives us insight into how we are to model our lives:
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
God loves us. He hates our sin, but He no longer punishes (disciplines) us for breaking the law. (Galatians 3: 24-25)
What would it look like for us to do likewise?