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“Love The Sinner Hate The Sin”: Plea For A New Paradigm

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the line "love the sinner, hate the sin" when the topic of homosexuality comes up I'd be a rich man (or at least have enough to pay my bills). It seems to be an 'easy' response to the situation but one that irks me considerably. I recently came upon this quote from another blog that I found hits the target:

'I don't think they could begin to understand how "love the sinner, hate the sin" doesn't cut it with this community. It's like saying, sure, we don't mind dogs, we love dogs - but leave that mongrel outside. All anyone hears is "hate the sinner with this sin." It's getting pretty old. I'm not saying that they have to change their theological stance, but... don't they have to at least be gracious?'

This statement is so intrinsically flawed, particularly in its application to homosexuality that it deserves some treatment. So in good 'sermon' mode here are three simple points to get us thinking.

1. Why just homosexuality? I've never heard this line used in any other discussion except when addressing the 'issue' of homosexuality in the church. Why is it so? I'm perplexed how some 'sin' gets the 'steroid' treatment and others we happily overlook everyday. Maybe the statement would irk me less if it was used for all of us. Eg: for our brother who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion when millions starve each day... Yes brother I love you but I hate your sin... the sister who is obsessed with her self image and spends hours and half her income on fashion and makeup... Yes sister I love you but I hate your sin... or maybe the church in general who focus generally 90%+ of their budget on their building, staff and sound systems... Yes brothers and sisters I love you but I hate your sin. I could go on and on ... but we don't do that though do we? ... it's as if the only sin God cares about are those of the GLBT community.

2. It puts the speaker on a pedestal. (putting on my pious voice here) 'Oh yes I can bring myself to love you sinner but I hate your sin' aaarrrgh Jesus must be cringing... News flash: we all sin!! Don't forget your origins! 'For all have sinned'... 'forgive as you have been forgiven'... 'do not look at the splinter in your brother's eye when you have a log in your own.' Jesus was very specific in his teaching on this. In my humble opinion most of the western church has a massive log in its eye... never forget to forgive as you yourself have been forgiven... we don't want to be unmerciful servants now do we! Some of the most loving gracious and giving people I know happen to be gay and Christian... so why are they so targeted.

3. Irreparable damage. Finally... the damage done by the church toward the homosexual community is so great the divide has become unfathomable. How does this statement help the church to bring us closer to a point where we see each other as sinful equals who need the love and grace of God whether we're gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT), materialist, fornicator, luster, obese, self-obsessed, selfish, liar, murderer, tax evader, blah blah blah...

I believe the church needs to find a new paradigm and one that fits my previous post of the GLBT community as our neighbours. So what is my plea for a new paradigm for the church and the GLBT community? ... Wait for it ... it may take some time to's pretty complex...


Forget the rest of the phrase just try sticking with the first word... that's it... simple isn't it... LOVE!!! It's hard to do, especially if you're burdened with your own historical and cultural prejudice but it's what we're meant to do and what we're meant to be known by... hmmm epic fail to date ...

So when you're next thinking about this one... just use the first word... LOVE!!!

Cheers all... Scott

PS: Note I have deliberately steered clear in this post of the varying discussions around whether homosexuality is a sin or not. If you read my 'What about me?' post I have already declared my 'liberal' stance on that... but for this post I'm assuming the evangelical position that it is sinful and despite that stance the paradigm needs urgent attention."

From Scott (Ellie) White's Blog
Used With Permission