Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day: A Reminder to Love the Sinner (But Hate the Sin)

Long time ago I was struggle with Jesus’ words and actions. He said such thing as “[The sinner or wicked] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46,
ESV). That is to say, the sinners will go to hell and the righteous will be with God in heaven. Amazingly knowing this reality, Jesus, throughout the Gospel stories always spend time with sinners and even hang on the cross with the criminals. He said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Now, why does he do that? The popular answer would be because Jesus loves sinners and he desires to saved them from the eternal punishment of hell and make them righteous and have eternal life in Him. Cliché but true. But isn’t that answer also means that in order for Jesus to love me, I should be a sinner. And the worst interpretation of all is that it doesn’t matter if I keep on sinning because Jesus still loves me anyway. Cliché but false. The best argument, most biblical and faithful to the Scripture, the core attitude of Jesus toward this matter is that: Jesus loves sinners, but hate sins. Cliché but this is the truth.

This truth can only be applied to Jesus, the Son of God because only God can love beyond the wickedness of the sinner and only God can hate righteously. We often failed to love and hate in a godly manner because we ourselves are sinners. We can have the same attitude toward others only if we allow Jesus to lives in us and we in Him. Only if He is the Lord of our lives.

Let us, in the midst of this worldly-love celebration – Valentine’s Day – be reminded that God love us first and in respond "We love him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And then in the same way, let us also be reminded to love sinners (the most loving thing to do is to tell others about Jesus and His work of redemption on the cross) and in the same time be reminded that we should never compromise and tolerate sins at the same time. Hate the sin but not the sinner. God helps us to love, Your way! Amen.


P.s: “Hate the sin, love the sinner” was made famous by Mahatma Gandhi. It is not from the Scripture. He probably paraphrase that quote from St. Augustine of Hippo’s “With love for mankind and hatred of sins." I don’t know from which context he said this, but when I use this quote I have God’s love in mind, Jesus’ words and deeds in the Scripture and from my own personal experiences when I encounter God’s grace and love in my life – changed me from sinner to saint.
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