Perhaps what’s so difficult about loving a person who is exposed in a sin you hate, is the hate part. I think people get caught up in the hate. Once hate is part of your thought process, it becomes the emotion that filters your responses and reactions. So even though your mind is telling you to love someone who has become vulnerable to sin, when you agressively hate their lifestyle, you are also actively hating the person.
The New Living Translation of Romans 12:9 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.
Christ followers who sprout on about “loving sinners” while “hating their sin” are viewing “sinners” as something other than themselves (the lovers and haters), other than people that God loves as He loves those who attempt to obey His Word faithfully. Members of the Body of Christ who label other people in judgement are saying to those people that they are less deserving of God’s grace and mercy than those whose sins are not as visible.
Romans 12:9 does not focus on what is evil or wrong. It focuses on love and what is good. The phrase, “hate what is wrong/evil” is introduced and followed with phrases of love and acceptance. If we, Christ followers, are to truly obey the Word of God, then we focus on the person – not the sin in the person. And we hold on to the person that God created in love just as He created us in love.
Jim McGreevy’s Note to Self
I watched the below video and read Jim McGreevy’s Note to Self. I immediately wanted to speak in defense of “the church” he mentions or leave a comment asking him to rephrase the line stating “how crushed [he was] because it was the church [he] so dearly loved, who hated [him] so deeply. But a quick check of myself and my own experiences with “church folk” left me with no defense of people who claim Christ as their Lord and Savior while mistreating other people Jesus also died for. I am saddened that Jim McGreevy’s early experiences with members of Christ’s body were such that he resorted to hiding himself and living a lie for as long as he did.
I encourage you to listen to Jim McGreevy’s Note to Self and ask yourself: How are you representing the Christ in you when you come face to face with a sin you abhor? Paul may have wrote to hate what is wrong, but Jesus says that such instruction belonged to the law that He came to replace. Jesus simply instructed us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. The greatest commandments he gave us are: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) A heart that loves God completely has no room for hate of any kind. Jesus instructs us to love everyone as we love ourself. We are to love people (patiently treat them with gentleness, kindness, mercy and grace)– yes, even those consumed in their sin – and pray for them. That’s it. Don’t waste energy hating other people’s sin or trying to differentiate between the sin and the sinner. Who has time for that? Put your energy into loving the person and praying God gives them the strength and will to overcome the obstacles in their life. Chances are you need the same prayer.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. ~ Matthew 5:43-48, NLT
Questions: Are you better than a pagan? Are you perfect in love?
Go out and be a blessing.