Loving the Sinner, and Hating the Sin.

One of my husband’s famous quotes is, “We are people of extremes.”

If we really think about it, this is true.

I think back to when I was younger. I trusted everyone. When the trust was broken, then I trusted no one, and it has taken me years to find my way to the middle, where I ask for God’s discernment with each person and in each situation.

It has been the same in my walk with Jesus. I grew up being taught the do’s and don’ts of religion. I came to know Jesus at the age of 9. I became frustrated with Him at the age of 16. I detoured away from him soon after.

Just like the prodigal son, I realized my Father loved me. I saw the pit I had dug for myself and I came back towards Him.

There was an incredible amount of damage in my heart. Debris was scattered everywhere like a bomb had gone off inside there. Due to the way I was taught in church, I sat in more guilt and shame than I could handle. I began trying to work my way back into God’s good graces and I put those standards on everyone around me as well.

The pain of letting God down and hurting His heart brought me to a place of always trying to make up for those mistakes. I tore other people apart for their mistakes because shouldn’t we be doing things perfectly.

I didn’t pray for them or myself for a long time. I just thought I should be able to get myself together and so should they, but that is an impossible task.

One day, I was a mess. I had failed once again. God spoke to my heart. He said, “My child, you are trying to receive what I have already given to you.” In that moment, I truly understood I was forgiven, not because of anything I had done, but because I humbly came to Him with a repentant heart. I was forgiven, because of who I am. His child.

Either we take on that Pharisee attitude towards ourselves and each other or we feel like we have to embrace and accept it all.

Jesus saw people, He loved people. He came to die for people.

He addressed sin, after loving the person and having a conversation. He spoke truth to people, while loving them.

If Jesus lived the perfect life, and was the perfect sacrifice for us, then I have to believe His approach to people was perfect, and He was walking in God’s will.

We can love the sinner and hate the sin because Jesus did. That is God’s heart and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do this.

It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other. Neither extreme represents our Heavenly Father very well.

This world will not know us by our love if we continue to tear each other apart. This world will not know God for who He truly is if we don’t stand firm on His Word.

When we disagree with someone, instead of starting an argument, why don’t we pray for God to helps us speak to them, without arguing. Let’s pray that God speaks to their heart.

This process of growth takes time. I know some things took me much longer to grasp, understand, and live out, than other things.

How about we live out our convictions and pray for one another more?

How about we pray and ask God to open our mouths when we need to speak and ask Him to shut our mouths when they need to stay closed?

How about we ask God to give us patience and grace with one another as we grow together in Him?

How about we ask God to show us how to love the sinner and hate the sin well?

I believe God’s heart is breaking as He watches His bride. The church is more divided than the world. We need God to change our hearts.

May it start with me. Today.

Heavenly Father, I ask for forgiveness for my part in this. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your patience and grace to me, as I grow in You. Help me to love others well. Help me to stand firm in Your truth. Help me to love the sinner and hate the sin, because that is what You do. I pray that you break the division in Your church, Lord. I pray that there will be Unity among us so that this world will see You and they will know us by our love. In Jesus, Name! Amen!