love sinner without condoning the sin

Can We Love a Sinner Without Condoning the Sin?

As moms, we want to teach our children to be compassionate and loving. Yet, we also want them to be able to easily discern right from wrong. So, can they just simply love a sinner, without condoning the sin?

When they are faced with a situation where a person is acting in a way which is morally wrong–sinning (using the Bible as our guide to define what is right or wrong), will it be easy for them to show love to this person? Or will they struggle to find the balance of expressing love without feeling like they are condoning the sin?

Do you struggle to know how to love a sinner but not condone the sin?

If you find it hard to know how to love and show compassion to someone who is living a sinful lifestyle, without feeling like you are saying that what they are doing is ok or doesn’t matter, read on!

“The Church” is beautiful. People joined together because of Jesus. One God who has transformed multiple lives. It seems like such foolishness, our devotion to Him, to those who don’t yet know Him. But to the church—we can’t imagine anything better.

And, because the church is made up of many different people, it can be challenging at times. We are different, so different. We read the same Bible. We serve the same God. But, we are very, very different. And when some type of struggle or situation arises, we aren’t always sure how to respond. This is usually an issue when “sin” comes up, or “sinners”.

We want to keep “sin” out of the church; away from the church. We know Jesus died to save us and free us from sin. We know it has no place in His presence. We know He calls us to live holy lives; to go and “sin no more”.

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Luke 22:47-51

Often, we are on the offensive against sin. At least, that is how we view our actions in our mind…and we run up and “cut off an ear”. That seems to be the best way to deal with it, just attack it. Cut it off! Be rid of it! Show where we stand! But, our Leader, what does He do? He says, “No more of this!” And He goes up to that bleeding person, touches their ear, and heals them. He is righteous, yes. But, He is also humble and kind. He is not “tame” or under anyone’s control, true, but He IS GOOD. He loves. We must remember that He loves. He loved us. John 3:16 clearly shows He loves us. He touches, He heals.

He is righteous, yes. But, He is also humble and kind. He is not “tame” or under anyone’s control, true, but He IS GOOD. He loves. We must remember that He loves. He touches, He heals.

Awhile back our pastor brought up that old saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” and he went on with a few thoughts about it. He said that he wasn’t comfortable with that saying at it is, but maybe it should be changed to “Love the sinner. Hate your own sin”.

 “Love the sinner. Hate your own sin.”

–Pastor Brian Zahnd

Lord, remind us of You. Teach us how to be like You. We get confused. We don’t always know how to act. Or what we should do or not do. We don’t know. We need You. Help us to trust in You. In Your power and Your interest to work in us, and in others. You won’t abandon us. You won’t give up. Help us to rest in You; in the truth of Who You truly are, Jesus. Thank You for Your deep love. Thank You for touching others and healing their ears when we have mistakenly reached out and struck them. Thank You for patiently loving and teaching us. We are Yours. Please have Your way in us. Teach us. Amen.

So, is it ok to teach our children to love others freely, even if they can clearly see that the “other” is outright sinning? Can we unabashedly, unashamedly love a sinner, without feeling the need to point out that we disagree with their choices or lifestyle? Most certainly! That is exactly what our Savior models for us.

What do you think? Have you struggled with this? Have you ever felt like you needed to qualify loving someone by saying, “Of course I don’t agree with what he/she is doing, but…”?

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