Aug 11 2011
Can You Really "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin"?

They say you can't "love the sinner, and hate the sin."  It's not possible.  If you love someone, you cannot hate how they are to themselves or others.  If you love someone, you must accept the entirety of who he is.  All of it.

As a scholar, equipped with (that's right) a Bachelor's Degree from a Fully-Accredited Institution, I humbly, respectfully, and collegially submit:


Proof?  Exhibit A:  Me.

I hate some of the ways I am, and some of the things I do.  I hate, hate, hate it.  I do not approve.  I cast aspersion.  I think I'm a moral mess.  I should wear the scarlet alphabet, plus some scarlet numbers and maybe some scarlet wingdings.

...but I don't hate me.  No, I'm pretty taken with me, actually.

I loves me some me.

In spite of my moral failures, in spite of my sin, I still manage to want what's best for me.  I'm rooting for me, big time.  I'm in my corner.  I'm on the me bandwagon.  I carry around a picture of me in my wallet.  I hate some stuff I do, some ways I am, but I'm here to tell you, I still manage to pray for blessings to be poured onto my head.

If there's one person whom I know is a real selfish jerk, it's Me.  I can't know your motives, but I know Me, and I can manage to come off unselfish for selfish purposes.  I know it, you know it, the American people know it.  And you know who I'd like to see win the lottery?  Me, of all people!

Figure this:  There's only one guy whose moral failings are amply displayed in front of me every waking moment.  And I actually put that guy's pants on for him every day.  I shop for him.  I pay for his entertainment.  I try to make him look nice.  I floss his teeth.  I take him to the bathroom.  It's way gross, but I want this guy to succeed.  I'm apparently pretty taken with him. 

And so is everybody, with themselves. Even those who deny God will violate their own convictions at times, and yet -- they care for themselves.

Yep, love the sinner, hate the sin. 

Sounds not only tenable, not only do-able -- it's almost like breathing.



Comments (18) -

8/11/2011 2:33:13 PM
Lynne United States
Exhibit B: all of us. Praise God -- He must have made us this way for a or many reason(s).  I have faith that He did that so that we would live to have a relationship with Him, but what do I know? One of the big rewards for which I have hope is to be able to ask Him all about this key aspect of life someday.  Anyhow thanks for putting a thumb on this very confusing aspect of human-ness.  First step in a 12 step program.
8/11/2011 3:44:58 PM
Michelle United States
Brant, I just started listening recently online and just wanted to say you crack me up even when you're talking about serious stuff.  I thought your "joke prayer" story yesterday was hilarious and very encouraging for future joking or serious prayers.  In fact, I tried a joke prayer yesterday, but so far no results.  This entry reminds me of my bf's sense of humor/writing, which I'm pretty sure he gets from reading too many sports columns.  When you mentioned that you were an ubernerd in high school for lettering in sports statistics, it reminded me of this funny article putting baseball stats in terms of ranking musicians.

I feel like it's something you might have written, given your sports stats background and your musical background.

btw, I lettered twice in ACADEMIC DECATHLON AND ACADEMIC TEAM.  I outnerd you. Tong  Luckily, I wasn't dumb enough to get a jacket, since the letters were a different color from sports letters. ha.
8/11/2011 4:24:25 PM
Ruth United States
I think "hate the sin love the sinner" is a mindset we SHOULD have as followers of Christ. However, we cannot not presume that this is how God views all people. Ultimately those with out Christ are enemies of God (Romans 5:10), but I cannot ignore the love God has for His creation and all people (John 3:16). God's love for the world is distinct from the special and intimate love God has for His children - the Church, the Bride of Christ.
8/11/2011 4:49:25 PM
Logan United States
I think that if we look at it from a human point of view, that it's true that it's impossible for us to love the sinner, hate the sin. But we need to look at it from God's view. He knows every sin we've ever done and yet he still loves us. We need to feel the same way to other people.
8/11/2011 5:20:56 PM
Brant Hansen United States
Brant Hansen
Ruth, I appreciate what you're saying.

And yet, John 3:16 uses the word "cosmos" -- all that has been created.  He loves the cosmos enough to send His only son.  Who, in turn, says we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  He doesn't stipulate "our Christian neighbors".
8/12/2011 8:59:06 AM
Ruth United States
Brant, in no way am I saying that Christians should only love Christians (that's what I'm getting from your response). I totally agree that God's word tells us to love others as we love ourselves, to love as Christ loved us, that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. My main point (though wandering slightly away from your main point) was to make a distinction that, YES, God loves the world, and He sent His Son to die on our behalf, but that God is HOLY and cannot tolerate/love (to the point of salvation) sinful people unless they have been justified by the blood of Christ.

I can love only because Christ loved me first, and because Christ has loved me, I can therefore, love others as He loves.

Thanks for raising the thought provoking topic.
8/12/2011 7:47:27 PM
Cindy Howe United States
Cindy Howe
This is an awesome article and you've done a great job making your point. It takes spending a lot of time with God and a growing relationship to start seeing people from God's point of view. Jesus prayed for the people who tortured him, "God please forgive them, they know not what they do." These people did not have God, love or Christ in their heart but Jesus still loved them. He understood that it was the sin that blinded them and they did not have a TRUE understanding of what they were doing or the repercussions of their actions. If we take the sin nature away then we are good, right? That's what happens when we accept Jesus and then die and go to heaven. Anyways I love your blog and your radio show. Your doing awesome and its a privilege to read your blogs and hear you on air.  :}
8/15/2011 10:25:16 AM
Tiffany United States
This blog really speaks to me. My husband is not a believer, and he has a lot of sinful habbits. He gets upset with me at times because I confront some of the really bad habbits that effect our family he says to me "you do not accept me" I simply tell him I love you and I accept who you are but, I do not accept what you do, what you do and who you are, are two different things I do not have to accept the things you do. So I hate the sins very much but I love him very much and I just continue to pray that he let go of his sinful ways and the the Lord cause He is so faithfull mercifull and loving will continue to work in my husbands heart cause I can not change him. So thank you for your blog.
8/17/2011 9:24:02 PM
Tonya United States
I must say that I look forward to getting into my car after work each day. Not because my work day is over but because I know when I start my car not only will I get to hear Awesome music but I will also get to hear you and I never know what you'll be talking about next! Whether it is a goofy story, question, game or sharing with us you own life or the struggles of each other something more spiritual to make us all think of ourselves and our God in a new or fun way, like you have done here, it is always good radio and good for life. you keep things relate-able, relevant and open for every one to join in. I love all the DJ's at air1! You, however, (and don't tell any of them I said this pleas Wink ) are my favorite.
Thanks for being you and allowing God to use you on air and online!
8/17/2011 9:58:13 PM
Tonya United States
hmm I just re-read that last comment. writing is so not my gift! and to think I edit letters for a living. *shakes head* oh well, I think you know what I meant. lol Smile
8/19/2011 9:54:04 AM
Dianne United States
Great points Brant. We are all sinners, saved by grace. It's so fun to love non-Christians into the kingdom. When we love right, they usually run to Jesus. Keep preaching, bruthuh! Smile
8/22/2011 5:18:18 PM
Lauren United States
I'm with ya Brant!
I have to admit, I hate myself and what I do and say sometimes too. I embarrass myself like crazy in front of my friends and the rest of my youth group and feel like an Idiot because of it. But I do think that it is possible as well, to "Love The Sinner And Hate The Sin". To be perfectly honest, when I just read that, it was clear to me what it meant. I thought something like, "of course it's possible to love the sinner and hate sin!" we are ALL sinners! We ALL EPICALLY FAIL sometimes and yet, people who are christian are told to HATE sin and turn AWAY from it. We sin anyway tho, cause we're HUMAN. Just because we and other people sin doesn't mean we CAN'T hate sin. It's a matter of if we WILL or WILL NOT hate sin. Not if we CAN or CANNOT but if we WILL or WILL NOT. Thanks for posting this Smile You are one of my favorite Air1 DJ's and you make me smile, and laugh Smile God Bless you and Air1!
8/31/2011 5:46:59 PM
Sierra United States
Brant, I completely agree with you about loving the sinner but hating the sin. A while ago at a Bible study I go to, we did a study on that very topic. Some people think it's impossible, and that you should love all of the person. Like God, He loves (we) the sinners, but He hates it when we sin.

And I just want to say I love listening to you. You are so entertaining! Keep up the good work!
10/8/2011 5:33:01 PM
Erica United States
Hey Brant, thanks for being encouraging. I just found this post that you made, and it really makes me think about what a hypocrite I am!! I find it so hard to love other people, because they do things to irritate me, when I, like Paul, am the worst of sinners, and I even find myself doing those same things that I hate to see in other people. Also, if I can't learn to love the sinners, how on earth can I witness to them so that they can become some of Christ's precious flock? God's blessings to you.
12/22/2011 7:30:11 AM
Heather United States
I really love this post!  I will definitely be sharing it with friends.  I think you came up with such a great, new perspective on this topic.  You really cut down to the core of the hypocrisy that a lot of Christians have, at some time or another, about one issue or another.  

My ministry has lately been trying to be more aware of and work on how we treat homosexuality and those who engage in it (i.e. disagreeing with their lifestyles still means we can love them as people, and know that God loves them too), and even those that struggle with same-sex attraction within our church.  I think your view on this could definitely apply to that.  Even in my own life, I hate my sins.  I hate that selfishness or anger overtakes me sometimes and makes me blind to everything and everyone else, but along with praying for help and guidance with these issues, I also continue to pray for God's blessings.  Because, well, I believe it when God says that he loves me and I think I'm pretty great too, despite all my defects.  When it comes down to it, even though we know we're sinners, we all still believe that we deserve good things, and we should be treated fairly.  And that's never clearer than we look at our own lives and faults.    
9/21/2012 7:25:55 AM
Patrick Leonard United States
Patrick Leonard
Sorry...nowhere does it say I must "love the sinner" says I must love my enemy...
it also says I must hate sin.
It also says I should seperate myself from evil doers....

God loves the sinner, not the sin.  We are called to righteousness, not hypocrisy.  The english word for love is too ambiguous and distortable to be in complete agreement with the Bible.  Agape and Ahab are not the same as the English "love"

Anyhow, the ultimate expression of love is sacrifice; something Jesus did for us.  No greater love is expressed than when a man gives his life for another.
So if you truly love your enemies, your neighbors, the sinner, the stranger...
Why aren't you in the military?
(from SFC, USA(Ret)...infantry)
10/11/2012 9:19:40 PM
FireSpeaks United States
Fully in agreement with you ( though I would not have say it quit as eloquent as you did.) the Bible is very clear about this. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) we are taught that love is an action in which we have a concern for the welfare of the person to whom or actions are directed. Naturally we must see hate as the lack of action concerning a person that has a need.

If we define Love and Hate by these standards than the sinner we love when we work to release him from the bondage of his sin. While at the same time we hate the sin by doing nothing that would allow the sin continue to exist.

Soli Deo Gloria
Your Brother in Christ
Troy "FireSpeaks" Pearsall
1/18/2013 10:24:58 PM
Kristina United States
A gay acquaintance of mine once  told me, when  I was rather apologetically explaining my beliefs and expecting him to pronounce me a bigot, "My mother thinks I'm going to Hell, but she loves me." He  understood and appreciated the level of love and  concern that went into her prayers for his deliverance. It would be nice if  everyone could "appreciate our differences" the same way. I don't pretend to be happy about the things I fervently disagree with and think are harmful to the people I love. But I still love them. I want God to do His will in their lives, whether or not  His  will is to my specifications.  God tells us to love our neighbors and to love our enemies. Last I checked, both those categories were made up entirely of sinners.  yes, God's idea of love differs from that of the world, but I think the Bible offers enough examples to be getting on with.
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