In the name of love, we are willing to do things that we never dreamed. For instance, I love my wife so much I willingly endure temperatures in our home that are on par with the outer boundaries of hell, because she is cold…even during summer. What can I say? I really love my wife.
Built for Love
At the end of the day, we are built for love. We are designed to give and receive love. Being that God is love and He desires to have us as His beloved; it follows that we are created to receive His love and extend it to others. Thankfully, many Christians understand this calling – extending and being His love. I’m hearing more and more people affirm that we are called to love others, and this is a good thing. What concerns me is what else can be said.
Love filled Hate
A common comment from people of the church is: “I hate the sin, but I love the sinner.” My response to this is always, “No you don’t.” Please understand, I recognize the good intention in this statement, because I use to say this very thing. What I understand now is that we error in believing that hate and love can coexist. “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” is found…nowhere in the Bible. This teaching isn’t in the Bible. While the bible definitely makes the case that God hates sin, it actually says evil (Ps 97:10), it more often points to hating our own sin, rather than sin in general, because it is our sin that keeps us from Him (Isa 59:2). And when we look at Jesus’ ministry, it was not part of His teachings. What Jesus did say was “Love God and love others.”
Again, He did mention “the speck” (or sin – Mt 7:3-5) in your brother’s eye. However, it was not for the purpose the church typically references. When we use that scripture to call out someone else’s sin, we disregard that Jesus first said deal with the plank in our own eye. In other words, that huge board! I mean, the guy was a carpenter, so I’m sure He was pretty solid on what a plank of wood looked like. His point was, deal with the huge sin in your own life, before considering the sin in your brother’s.
One of the key words in this passage of scripture is brother. After dealing with your own sin, Jesus was talking about dealing with the sin of other believers, not people outside of His followers. Sadly, we use this scripture to justify naming the sin of people who do not even believe they should be following Jesus. Then we wonder why they won’t come to our church. I’ve never seen anyone come to Jesus after a Christian said, “Jesus hates your sin, but He loves you, so follow Him.”
Hate Crushing Love
Here is the truth. You cannot truly love someone when you are focused on what you hate about them, and what they’re doing wrong. If we, as The Church, truly desire to love others as we love ourselves (Mk 12:31), we need to recognize that with God, hate never precedes love. It just cannot. Love cannot have anything to do with hate – except to crush it. Love stands alone and conquers hate. Remember you are built for love. This is the way of Jesus.