Why "Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner" Isn’t Working

"According to blogger and Pastor Jarrid Wilson, “Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner” isn’t working out very well for the Christian community." Crosswalk

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Andrew K.'s picture

“For this reason, the man who lives by God’s standards and not by man’s, must needs be a lover of the good, and it follows that he must hate what is evil. Further, since no one is evil by nature, but anyone who is evil is evil because of a perversion of nature, the man who lives by God’s standards has a duty of “perfect hatred” (Psalms 139:22) towards those who are evil; that is to say, he should not hate the person because of the fault, nor should he love the fault because of the person. He should hate the fault, but love the man. And when the fault has been cured there will remain only what he ought to love, nothing that he should hate.”

–St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430), City of God, 14.6

This is the origin of the adage. And if you work through what Augustine is actually saying here, it's very, very profound and good.


Dave Gilbert's picture

For God, He actually hates the sinner as well as the sin: Psalm 2:4-9, Psalm 5:5-6, Psalm 7:11-13, Psalm 10:3, Psalm 11:5-7, Proverbs 3:32-33, Proverbs 6:16-19, Romans 9:13, 1 Corinthians 16:22, James 4:4, and many more. Interesting read, by the way: http://famguardian.org/Subjects/Spirituality/Articles/DoesGodHateSinners.htm


As for believers, we are commanded to show all men love ( love thy neighbor as thyself ), even to pray for those that despise and reject us ( Galatians 5:14, Galatians 6:10, Matthew 5:44, Romans 12:14 ). I think where this article goes awry, is that there is supposed to somehow be no difference between those outside the body of Christ and those that are inside. Wilson makes this statement, " I can’t ever recall a person who came to faith because of hate. Learn to love like Jesus, serve like Jesus, and forgive like Jesus. Let’s start a movement of people who are willing take hate out of the equation, and love people regardless of their sins.”


Personally, I'm tired of people "starting movements"...let's just follow God's word. Also, I can't ever recall a person I have ever known who has come to the genuine, saving faith of Jesus Christ without first, realizing God's coming wrath on them personally for their sins against Him, and second, realizing in a personal way their only option which is to throw themselves on the mercy of the court by believing on Christ for that mercy. It has NOTHING to do with realizing God's love for us...we realize that later, when we realize just what it was that we were saved FROM...the wrath of almighty and holy God.


IMO, if a person comes to Christ because they were "loved into the kingdom", I have a large tendency to think they really didn't come to THE Christ. I think this is a false gospel ( and one that gets perpetuated continually ), and I would personally not preach it nor even recommend that it be preached. It does not follow the truth of Scripture, neither does it follow the example of those who were sent out by God through the power of the Holy Ghost to SPREAD that truth ( the apostles ).



I remember how much I  wrestled with this subject of God hating not just the sin, but the sinner as well, for quite awhile...until God showed me the correct way to view things...both those within the body and without the body are to be treated with grace. Those within are to be exhorted to obey and walk with the Lord, while those without are to be persuaded to repent of their sins and turn to Christ for the forgiveness of said sins. Nothing in the Bible condones the toleration of sin within the body, but there is much to be said when it comes to believers tolerating it without ( outside ) the body of Christ.


Our duty as believers is two-fold, and it reflects both God's continuing grace AND His holiness, IMO. Our duties as preachers of the word, should God call some of us to that, is to preach it as God commands...truthfully, accurately and carefully, keeping in mind our conduct...our words are to be seasoned with grace. This doesn't mean we are to love those outside the body of Christ with the same, personal love that we love those within the body of Christ ( one way this is born out is that God commands us to separate ourselves from those outside the body ). This also doesn't mean we are to hate them as God hates them, because I sincerely believe that, apart from coming to a place where we are completely holy before God in an actual and experiential way, we are not capable of hating them in a righteous way...so we are to show them the love God has commanded to, as good neighbors.




Dave Gilbert.