Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” — 1 Peter 3:15

Note: All letters are posted as they were received. No spelling or grammar errors have been corrected. Links to responses are at the end of the letter.

Editor:

God does not hate the homosexual just the sin

God does not hate the murderer just the sin

God does not hate the person just the sin

The same Bible verses you use could also be taken out of context to apply to murderers, rapist, any other person caught up in deviant sin. Read the Bible and allow the Lord to open your eyes to sin. I pray that he will open your eyes.

Jonathan


Rev. Vera I. Bourne responds: Hello Jonathan,

I’d like to answer your comment in reverse order of your statement.

I too pray that God will open my eyes, for just as surely as you do, I overlook the faults in my own life when I focus my attention on what I perceive as faults in another. It is so easy to be complacent when we forget the words of Romans 3: 23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

The Christians I know all read their Bible daily, as I’m sure you do, for where else would we turn for God’s message of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. In my daily life I echo the words of David recorded in Psalm 32: 1, “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” In Psalm 51: 3 he also states, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Whenever we sin we cannot but be aware of that sin for the awareness of sin is sharpened in the lives of those who are dedicated to Christ’s service.

Look at the word SIN. The letter “I” occupies the central place. Whenever “I” is in the centre of our lives we SIN. Sin is simply that, putting our wishes, our desires and our plans ahead of God’s perfect will in our lives. Sin is being less loving than the loving and forgiving person God designed us to be. Jesus, when dealing with the woman caught in the act of adultery, challenged those who would stone her to death with the words, “If anyone of you is without sin, let that person be the first to throw a stone at her.” Because each of his listeners was reminded of the secret sins in their lives, not one person could throw that first stone. Paul deals with the price we humans pay for sin in our lives in Romans 6: 23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Isaiah’s prediction of Christ’s sacrifice are recorded in Isaiah 53: 12, “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Jeremiah is also recorded as quoting the following message from God, “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”

We all have sinned, no matter what sins we have committed. There are no BIG sins and no SMALL sins in God’s sight. There is just sin. And God truly does hate sin. Yet God chooses to use imperfect people, people who have broken the laws given the nation of Israel. Abraham, David and Jacob all had more than one wife, but were men who God used. Rahab was a prostitute whose faith in God was honoured, and no where do we hear that she left her usual means of earning a living. The simple fact is that while ever we have sinned, and that includes all of us, we are in no position to judge the words, behaviour or even motives of another person. Even Jesus declined to judge. We hear his words recorded in John 8: 15, “You judge by human standards, I pass judgement on no one.” In John 12 :47 we also hear his words, “I did not come to judge the world but to save it.” On Calvary’s cross as he uttered the words “It is finished,” once and for all time the full payment for sin was finalised. I would not dare to place myself in a position Jesus avoided, that of judging others, and I know that you would not usurp God’s role of judge.

So often we in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community hear the phrase, “Love the sinner but hate the sin.” This phrase defines how God sees each person, loving and accepting us irrespective of all the sins we have committed. It is usually spoken by self-righteous persons who gloss over their sins of pharisaism and pride while seeing themselves as fit to judge others. All who know themselves as sinners and have experienced the righteousness of God, choose to serve as Jesus commanded by spreading the Gospel of love, offering practical assistance to any in need. One only need look at the number of New Testament verses devoted to condemning the sins of gossip, backbiting, disbelief, lies, discord, legalism and impeding the spiritual growth of others to discover Jesus’ teaching about the damage sin causes in our lives. On the topic of homosexuality he spoke not one word or phrase of condemnation or rebuke.

Thank you for your prayerful concern about sin; it truly is something we each need God to expose in our lives so that we may ask for forgiveness, and strength to overcome our sin. Whatever the sin, the price Jesus paid involved his death. Praise God we are valued to this extent.

Shalom,
Vera


Neil Ellis Orts responds: Jonathan,

I don’t know exactly which verses you’re referring to, but one that is near and dear to my heart is the one wherein Jesus tells the Pharisee that all the law and prophets can be condensed down to “love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:28-31) I can think of no situation wherein it would be loving to commit murder, rape or theft. I can think of situations wherein love between people of the same gender can be, well, loving. I don’t think your comparisons hold up and some would say are even insulting.

I’ve yet to hear of an example of homosexual intimacy that proves that homosexuality is in and of itself sinful. Every example I know of can be applied to heterosexual situations just as well. If it doesn’t condemn heterosexuality, it doesn’t condemn homosexuality, either.

Read the Bible and allow the Lord to open your eyes to sin. I pray that he will open your eyes.

Actually, Jonathan it was reading the Bible that helped set me free from rules that no longer apply. In that setting free, which I believe to be the Good News of Jesus, I also saw some areas in my life wherein sin was prevalent and needed attention. In the midst of it all, I suppose God does love the sinner and hate the sin. It is for that reason that I continue to work on the sin in my life. Still, my experience with God has not been full of wrath. As one ancient Christian wrote (and if I could remember who, I’d give him credit), “The wrath of God is but a teaspoon compared to the ocean of God’s love.”

Anyway, as near as I can see, some of what you’re praying for has already happened. I pray it continues to happen for both of us.

Peace,
Neil


Maarten van den Driest responds: Dear Mr. Bain,

Obviously you have visited our site and read some of the material or maybe all of it. What surprises me is that you still seem to be able to send a ‘quick comment’ like this when it is particularly obvious this doesn’t work.

We at Whosoever do not believe homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, the rest of your comment doesn’t apply at all. Since I think there is more behind your words than just the quick comment, I will react anyway.

I would like to encourage you to read our articles and read them again. We have read the Bible over and over, some of us are ordained clergy. We know what the Bible says. We are not stupid people who ‘should only read the Lord’s Word and then see the light.’ Most of us have been studying the Bible for years, sometimes all our lives.

Some of us have been put through terrible ordeals by people who call themselves Christians and still we continue to study the Bible and still we listen to God’s voice in our lives. I do not want to offend you in any way but do you understand why your comment is terribly presumptuous and arrogant? What do you know about our belief in the Lord?

I know people react to catchphrases strongly but there are often grave errors under their surface. Even if homosexuality would be sinful, how dare you compare homosexuals to murderers? Please don’t hide behind the ‘fact’ that you believe both things are sins. There is a big difference. Homosexuality involves two people of the same gender who love each other with all their heart, all their mind and all their soul. Murder is the ending of another’s life. Murder means meaningless death, an offense to God, a curse to life. Love, homosexual or otherwise, is a blessing, a song of praise to the Lord Almighty and a possible inspiration to all. Now, even when you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful in some way, how can you still compare us to murderers so casually?

Devoutly believing, good homosexual people have over time been shunned, cast out, even murdered by so-called Christians. Mr. Bain, just because you’re told we cannot love doesn’t mean it is true. Have you checked?

Allow me to ask a question. Answer with only yes or no. Did you finally stop using cocaine? Do you see what can be done with otherwise simple words? Obviously you can’t answer no because you’d admit you are still using. Saying yes would mean admitting you have used cocaine before. I use this example only as a means to point out words are complicated things and much can go wrong if people interpret them without the utmost respect for their complexity.

We respect the Bible, the Word of God and love its Inspirator. However, that doesn’t mean we interpret it as you do or that we read it ‘literally’. Reading literally is not the same as taking a text seriously.

What do you mean with ‘taking out of context?’ Which verses do you mean in the first place? You do not tell me which ones so you give me no chance to explain.

The verses in Leviticus are warning us against temple prostitution. It is easy to find a word in the Bible, then claim it means ‘all homosexuals’ and then explain the Bible is against homosexuals but is that reading ‘in context’? I think not. It is pushing one’s view into the Holy words, forcing the Word of God to support one’s own hatred.

If you really want to seriously discuss individual verses with me, go ahead. Please send a letter to Whosoever, explaining your doubts about our views, quoting your exact reasons. Only then will you take us seriously, as one human to another. Only then will I able to speak to your soul. Right now, you write a short, casual note to an abstract concept know as ‘homosexuals’. It is easy to believe some concept is bad. You were told it is sinful so you believe that without questioning. This in itself is bad enough but please don’t forget you are speaking about actual, living people. It is worse when you meet those actual people and just throw a blanket condemnation into their faces without giving them a chance to explain. Is that what Jesus would do? No, He would care for each individual person and show His love for each of us. Now answer, for yourself, whether sending your note was a very Christian thing to do.

My apologies for sounding so angry. I do not wish to condemn you in any way so I ask forgiveness for lashing out this way. You should understand that I am 24 years old and have had to fight all my life for every scrap of recognition I got. Each time I meet someone I have to explain myself. I have seen people break under the strain and just lose their minds. Another soul extinguished by the ‘righteous’. I hope you understand my anger.

I invite you to visit a gay church. If you live in the US, there is the MCC. It will not hurt you in any way to join in one of their services. Join, praise the Lord along with the rest and speak to some people. Check if they really seem to be so sinful. Check if they cannot love. Check! If you can’t visit a gay church then find a gay Christian community on the Internet and join them for a time. We are but one example. Read the articles, share in the pain, the suffering. Also share in the hope, founded in Christ Jesus, that we all attempt to keep alive, through whatever ordeals our enemies put us through. You will never see a condemnation of anyone on our website. We have no enemies but those who confirm themselves that.

We spread the Word of God on our own special place on the Internet. Be thankful the Lord is working through us, providing a refuge for all those gay people who have been denied by their Christian brothers and sisters the Grace that is rightfully theirs. We will continue to build a better world, praying, even when we are shunned, oppressed, blocked, hated, hunted down or murdered. I invite you to join us, just for the you of you.

I pray the Lord will open our eyes together, so that we may jointly praise His name.

I believe in Jesus Christ, Lord over Heaven and Earth, my Saviour.

Blessings beyond measure,
Maarten


Rev. Dr. Jean Orost responds: Dear Jonathan,

I have often heard the quotation, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” The problem I have with it is that I have never heard anyone say it in love. There is usually a strong tone of criticism if not hate in their expression. I have a suggestion to make to you, based on my reading of I Corinthians 13.

Try to find someone you know who is gay or lesbian and invite them out for a cup of coffee. You pay for it and just listen to them and try to get to know them as people. Follow it up with a postcard or phone call to express your appreciation for them.

“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous: love does not brag and is not arrogant.”

If you don’t think you know anyone who is a homosexual, call your nearest Metropolitan Community Church and ask to be connected to someone who has recently been widowed from a 40 or 50 or 60 year committed relationship. They will be grieving, often without the support of family or a support group, and will need someone to share with. Try just being with them and listening to their stories and looking at their photo album with pictures of their shared life. Try loving them for a while.

“does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,” vs. 5.

Check the yellow pages for your local gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered youth association. Find out about public meetings. Listen to young people tell about being ridiculed, spat upon, beaten, gang raped, and cast out of their homes. Find someone to love there, but don’t be surprised if their resentment and self-protection spills out. Withhold your judgment and love them anyway.

“does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;” vs. 6.

Call your local AIDS clinic and ask them to send you to visit and care for a person dying alone. It doesn’t matter whether they are gay or not; they’ve all suffered the same rejection along with their illness. Spend a couple hours a week reading to them, walking their dog, bringing them little necessities. Listen and learn to love them.

“bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” vs.7.

When you have tried to love this way for a year, you might try going to the prisons to love the murderers and rapists the same way. If you have done all this, perhaps then you will be ready to talk to each of these people about their sin. Maybe, if they know you love them, they will be ready to listen to what you have to say. Maybe what you say will be changed because you have loved first. Perhaps you will write back and let us know what happened.

In Christ’s abiding love,
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost