Sunday, November 16, 2003
I had so many thoughts going through my head this morning at church. We've been doing a conversation-style bible study with the adults, and it's good to see/hear other people thinking and processing what God's saying to us. One good question I got after the group time had to do with "love the sinner, hate the sin."
My take is that we have a very difficult time doing that, separating the person's sin from the person. We'll demonize a profession and all it's members - like abortionists, or liberals, or democrats, or opposing football coaches - and then we find it tough to show real love to real people in real situations. While I was a sinner, Christ died for me - so how can I take that to the people around me who might be homosexual, or abortion activists, or name-your-sinner? Somehow, I can't let their sin, or my perception of it, to determine how I'm going to feel about them. I can't let someone's sin keep me from loving them, because Jesus loved me first.
There's another take on that statement: "hate the sin, love the sinner." Ray Comfort says that we can't separate the sin from the person, that doing so does a disservice to the gospel, or something to that effect. I do have some reconciliation between his take and "mine" (in quotes, because this is something I've picked up over lots of time, lots of authors, lots of my own seeking on this stuff). Where he says you can't separate the sin from the sinner, I say this: love the sinner so that the sin becomes apparent. My "love" can't detract from sinfulness - or that's not real love. Real love would bring a convicting agent with it, wouldn't it? If love is from God, then the Holy Spirit will also flow in conviction, mercy, forgiveness and salvation. Real evangelism comes when the sinner receives real love, repents of real sin, and is reborn in real salvation.
I can point to someone as a lawbreaker by pointing out that he has broken God's law or the ten commandments - but if I don't have love, I'm just being noisy.
After that, Pastor preached on passion this morning. Webster's first definition of "passion" is Christ's suffering from the Last Supper through to death on the cross. Whatever I might have to say about passion, realizing that the very word is a picture of Jesus floored me. I might write more on that later in the week. Still processing.