A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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LOVE THE SINNER

 slip in under the radar

One of the easiest ‘sin traps’ to fall into is forgetting that God loves everyone equally, no matter what they do or say.

He doesn’t love what everyone does or says, but he does love whoever is doing the doing or saying.

We need to remember this hard-core fact when we find ourselves repulsed by something someone has said or done. We need to separate the horrible thing from the person doing and saying it. We need to separate the sinner from the sin.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

To do this, it helps to see the sinner as you. It helps to remember that you, at times, also say or do horrible things. It helps to remember that you hope not to be condemned even despite your screw-ups. It helps to remember that God shows mercy to you.

Knowing this, we must also acknowledge that:

  • God loves the Muslim suicide bombers who blow up children.
  • God loves whoever was responsible for 9-11.
  • God loves the guards at the Nazi concentration camps who flicked the gas switch on.
  • God loves Judas Iscariot.

This is the God we serve. Our God isn’t someone who hates those who hate him or who hates those who do horrible things. Our God is someone who loves all people equally, even those in hell and those on their way there.

Jesus told us to be perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect.

God loves us.

All of us.

All of the time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Years ago, when I was an atheist, I went to an abortion clinic. Because the clinic had received so many bomb threats, the front entrance was permanently barred and people had to enter through the rear gate. An armed security guard stood watch. As I went to enter, a man self-identified as a minister and separated himself from the small group of anti-abortion protestors who held permanent vigil there. He quickly moved towards me and tried to push himself between me and the gate. I pushed him back and the security guard intervened. As he was being hauled away, the minister yelled over and over again that I was a sinner and would go to hell if I had an abortion. I yelled back words that aren’t fit to print here, but you get the idea. There was no love lost on either side. What I remember most about this encounter was that it was with a minister and that his eyes were full of hate. That pretty much summed up my impression of Christians in those days.

Today, being born-again, I understand the loathing that the minister must have felt when he saw me make my way to the abortion clinic gate. I understand his hatred of what he assumed I was about to do, and I also understand how his hatred for abortion could spill over into hatred for me. I get it. It’s easy to do, hating the sinner as well as the sin. It’s a classic sin trap.

That’s why we must always be on our guard against it. Come Judgment Day, it’s probably not the big sins like theft or adultery or even abortion that will condemn us in God’s loving eyes, but the sins that slip under our radar, disguised as holy outrage.

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”


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