Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Hate the Sin

We are supposed to hate the sin but love the sinner. 
We hear it all the time, but the whole idea produces more blank looks and shaking heads than almost any other. How in the world are we supposed to do that?
 Well, like any other biblical principal, maybe it's best to start with ourselves.

I sin.
So do you.
But do I hate my own sin? 
And how do I know this?
Jesus tells me:
If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off.--Matthew 18:8

Did He really mean this? 
Well, He did, or He wouldn't have said it.
He probably meant it as a metaphor, of course, but the example serves to illustrate the force with which we are to approach sin. We are to hate it enough to cut off our own hand to get rid of it.

Jesus says to "take up your cross" (Luke 9:23) and "die every day" (1 Corinthians 15:31).
He leaves no room for excuses, no safe harbor while sin still reigns in us.
This is what He does say:
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.--Hebrews 12:4
This is how much we are to hate sin.

Does this sound cruel?
It is not cruel to insist that we put to death strong, sinful desires.
It is not cruel to deny that it's OK for either ourselves or anyone else to give in to what is clearly forbidden.
We are to love both ourselves and others with self-denial.

Examine your own strong desires.
Do you indulge, rather than fight them because it's just so darn hard and you know that God, in the end, will forgive you?
I do.

The hand I must cut off is the hand of strong, habitual, sinful desire.
And it will hurt. A lot. A real lot. I will scream from it. I will not be able to envision what is on the other side, who I will be without it, how I will live, what I will do without the emotional crutch.
But, if I believe that heaven, and freedom, await, I must whack away, doing whatever it takes.
And then, pointing with my own bloody stump rather than a filthy, still-intact, accusing finger, I can learn to truly hate the sin and love the sinner because I have done so with myself.


  1. Good stuff, your words make me think and delve very deeply into my own heart!

    1. Yeah, I know. Thanks, for the comment, Eviejo. This is just one of those good-for-us ouchies, I guess.

  2. Powerful. A friend recently told me that she felt bad because she didn't think she had a cross to carry - until she came to this truth.

    1. Oh my...Yes, a cross indeed. And one that can only be put down one way. It is hard, hurtful work, but oh what comes at the end of it...