Hating the Sin, Loving the Sinner
By Mina R Raulston 2/7/16
In a continuing discussion of tolerance, I’d like to look at the subject of hating the sin, while loving the sinner. Whenever a Christian speaks out about any belief or behavior that contradicts the Word of God, society immediately accuses Christians of being haters. It doesn’t help much that some people, claiming to be Christians, commit acts of violence against those they have judged.
While the Word of God says we must speak out about sin, it doesn’t say we are to execute vigilante justice such as setting fires or bombing the facilities of groups whose ideals they don’t share. Peter and Paul, the leaders of the early church, spoke in public, in private, before common people, and the leaders of the nations of their day. They did not go in carrying military weapons. They wore the full armor of God and their weapon was the Word of God. Did they win earthly rank and position? No, they spent a lot of time in prison and experienced torture and eventual execution for their faith. But, they were responsible for building a religion that has grown worldwide since the days of Christ on Earth.
People around the world today are being persecuted and executed for their faith. Here in what used to be the largest Christian nation on Earth, many have waxed cold and turned from their faith. Others have compromised their beliefs to “fit in” with the world. The Bible teaches we are to be in the world, not of it.
Instead of complaining that, “they won’t let us……” why don’t we simply take a stand and insist on our constitutional right of Freedom of Religion. If others ignore us, that is their choice. If others revile us and persecute us, then we are in good company with Jesus, Peter, Paul and others in the Bible. We might be surprised at the people who gained courage from our stand and decided to take their own stand.
We don’t have to bully people. We don’t have to attack them for believing differently than we believe. What we can do is live out our faith. What we can do is utilize our Freedom of Speech to state our position in a peaceful manner. Even if we form a public gathering to state our differing beliefs we can do so in a peaceful manner. What we should not do is bomb abortion clinics and attack those who believe differently than us. The way to spread the Word of God is not to shove it down people’s throats with hate, judgment and physical attacks. It is to speak it out and to try, as much as is possible, to live peaceably with others. And, just to be clear, I am not speaking about military action here. That is a totally different discussion. And, there is nothing wrong with arming ourselves in self- defense. I firmly believe in our right to bear arms. What I’m saying is that we should not seek to aggressively destroy those who believe differently from us.
The Bible said the world would know we are Christians by our love, not by our aggression. Whether you write about your love of God, sing songs of praise, preach on the street corner, or simply insist on saying grace for your meal in a public place, I challenge you to stir up the fire of your faith and your hunger for God this year. Take a stand in your own individual way so that those around you know that you are a Christian. By living your faith rather than attacking those who are different, you can present an opening for a conversation about your faith, rather than setting up a war zone.