HATE THE SIN, LOVE THE SINNER: IS THIS BIBLICAL?


We shall look into the Bible to see what the Bible has to say about the concept from the Old and New Testaments. . The cliche "Hate the sin, Love the Sinner" came from Mahatma Gandi in his autobiography 1929. Mahatma Gandi was an Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948). The other claim though not the exact words were from St. Augustine of Hippo (c,424) which was penned by Fr.Vincent Serpa O.P.


Answer to the Claim

"It’s from St. Augustine. His Letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to "With love for mankind and hatred of sins." The phrase has become more famous as "love the sinner but hate the sin" or "hate the sin and not the sinner" (the latter form appearing in Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography)."


The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah John Martin 1852
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah John Martin 1852

OLD TESTAMENT


There are no verses whatsoever about God loving the sinner and hating the sin. In fact, there were instances where God completely wiped out the nations which sinned. When the Israelites left Egypt, more than 600,000 men not counting women and children were on the move. However all the adult males died before they reached the Promised Land because of sin. God had no mercy on the sinners. Only two males survived, Joshua and Caleb.


Genesis 19:24

  • Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.

Sodom and Gomorrah were razed to the ground and completely wiped off from the face of the earth.


WHAT GOD HATES

Proverbs 6:16-19

  • These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
  • A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
  • An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
  • A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

The Ten Commandments contain verses against lying, killing and false witnessing.

Proverbs 8:13

  • The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Genesis 18:20 - Sodom

  • And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and their sin is grievous;

Genesis 19:24

  • Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.

Sodom was where Lot dwelt when he separated from Abraham. When the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, the Sodomites tried to have sex with the angel and Lot tried to stop them. After Lot fled with his family, Sodom was completely destroyed.

Zechariah 8:17

  • And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate saith the Lord.


Here God says that He hates all the things that were mentioned, but you must not imagine evil in your hearts. In other words, do not judge the sinner! So from the point of view, the cliche about hate the sin, love the sinner is definitely not from the Old Testament. Nowhere would God love the sinner, but hate the sin. If God loves the sinner, He would not completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

Because God hated the Israelites for disobeying Him by not keeping the Sabbath, He would not have allowed the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. Due to disobedience only two adults, Joseph and Caleb out of over 600,000 thousand men did set foot in the Promised Land of Israel.



NEW TESTAMENT

When Jesus was on the earth He spoke of loving your neighbour as yourself as the second most important commandment. Love is very important to a Christian who is to love those who are near him or in contact with him. Jesus showed more love when He said to not hate your enemy. To hate the sinner is natural, but to love your enemies takes a lot of effort to overcome. How much more struggle we need to put in order to bless our enemy and to repay good for evil to those who hate us. We must not retaliate evil for evil. Instead we should return good for evil.

The attitude of Jesus has shown us more than loving sinners.


Matthew 5:43-44

  • You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Luke 6:27-28

  • But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies,
  • do good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.


Does this verse qualify the neighbour as a "sinner"? Are all neighbours "sinners"?


Matthew 22:39-40

  • And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

It is not mentioned that the neighbour is a sinner. A neighbour is one who lives near, one in the same street, village or community or a fellow-man. A neighbour cannot be equated as a "sinner". In other words, Jesus did not mention loving a sinner.


QUESTION


Is it possible to love sinners and hate the sin? Can the sin be separated from the sinner in a court of law? How will the courts decide the case? It is easier if you are not connected with the victim. Judges are appointed to sit in judgment and only judges can judge the accused. The layman can only accept the decision of the court. The citizens must abide by the law.


GOD IS THE JUDGE

God is the judge who should judge us and we should not judge one another.

Hebrews 12:23

  • To God the Judge of all, ...

Hebrews 10:30

  • The Lord shall judge his people.

Matthew 7:1-2

  • Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:

Romans 2:1

  • Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou juidgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself;




The cliche Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner is defintely not biblical. This was derived from Mahatma Gandhi (1929), but the concept was brought forward earlier by Bishop St. Augustine (c. 424). Mahatma Gandhi did study the Bible and Christianity in his lifetime and he did know what Jesus said for he was a lawyer. Gandhi coined the quote which was attributed to him. Jesus brought up loving your neighbour when He preached when He was about 30 - 33 years old. The era of Jesus preceded both men by nearly 2000 years ago. The concept was even before the time of Jesus, so it is not a new idea.

Jesus did not even condemn sin in the case of the adulterous woman.

John 8:7

  • Jesus said unto them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." What is meant by these words? Examine yourself and see whether you have any sin before you condemn another person.


Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner: Is this Biblical?

Many Christians presume this cliche is biblical. Did you believe it to be true?

See results without voting

© 2012 einron

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Comments 10 comments

Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 4 years ago from Bismarck, ND

Wow this really gives me a lot to think about. I really truly believed that Love the sinner, hate the sin was a biblical concept and often included this concept in my writings - mostly those about homosexuality. Thank you for enlightening me! I'm going to share this one as I know it is going to surprise some people - Christian or not.


einron profile image

einron 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

Carl Jean

Thanks for being the first to response. I thought so myself that it was a biblical concept until I search the scriptures in the Old Testament and New Testament and came to the conclusion that it was not so.

Hope more people would also discover the truth. God bless.


Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 4 years ago from Atlanta Ga

You said it well. Both thought and action belong to the same person. You can't include the grape without including the vine.


einron profile image

einron 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

Thanks for visiting. The thought and action do not belong to the same

person. We are thought not to condemn people for judging comes from

God when Jesus comes again for the second time to judge the dead and

those who are still living.

Our condemning has not effect on the person. If you say, "Go to hell!"

The person will not go to hell because you said it. Your voice is only

your voice. It has no effect on the heare whatsoever.


JcOz 3 years ago

For God so loved the world...

Whilst I think we can agree that God certainly hates sin...

I think it is difficult to agree that God does not love the sinner.

God loved the world (a fallen world... full of sinners) that He sent His own Son to die for us.

Yes, He did flood the world but Noah was commanded to warn the antideluvian world of the pending judgement about to befall them...

Sometimes mankind listened to God's warnings... think Jonah and Ninevah... God commanded Jonah to tell Ninevah. He was not keen to tell them (that sinful group of people) and he was quite dissappointed when they turned from their sinful ways and repented.

I am sorry, but based on the bible... I see nothing but love for sinners in a fallen world.

That said... I am NOT a believer in the cliche "come as you are and stay as you are!"

NOOOO!

True, God accepts us as we are... and he FORGIVES our sins at which point, it is as if we have not sinned.

But, He expects us to change. To become more like him.

Think of a married couple... after 50 years of marriage. They know each other very well. They know what the other is thinking, what he/she likes etc. We need to spend time with God, we need to get to know our God. In doing so, we will know how our sins repulse Him. We will seek empowerment to OVERCOME sin...

YES... we CAN overcome with the help of God!

I hope my ramblings make sense...

May God bless you richly,

Regards,

John


einron profile image

einron 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

God gives the sinner a chance to repent. We are not judges and so we should not judge.

We are told by Jesus to obey the commandments, to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves. That does not mean that we go and hug all the sinners.

To love them is not to do harm to them. Why you do not wish for man to harm you, you should not do it to them. You do not wish others to kill you, so you do not kill anyone. You do not want man to steal from you, so you do not steal from him.

This is very reasonable. If you love God, He will return your love and vice versa.

God bless.


JcOz 3 years ago

I agree mostly what you say... although when Jesus was on this earth, He did not hangout with the perfect people... he reached out to the demonic possessed, lepers and sinners in general.

Mary, Martha and Lazarus is a family touched and changed by Jesus. Recall, Mary was brought before Jesus by the "perfect" pharisees condemning her for adultery. But Jesus eloquently said that who is without sin, should cast the first stone... the perfect pharisees left... and nobody was left.

Jesus told Mary that her sins were forgiven and to go sin no more...

As I said previously, God does expect us to change. The law is like a mirror. The closer we get to God and His law, the more sinful we see we are. Once the sin has been brought to our attention, then we need to remedy it.

It would be pointless if a doctor diagnosed you as having cancer and you decided to carry on life as normal and ignore the small inconvenient fact that you have cancer...

No... just as a diagnosis from a doctor, so to we must listen and respond to the diagnosis from the world's greatest physician.

We must be willing to change and allow correction from God.

We are human and we do stumble... even King David made a mistake of looking out of his palace and allowing his eyes to fixate on a desirable object but he should have been stronger... he should have moved his eyes to another scenery.

Nobody would argue that God did not love King David... the bible is very clear.

So let us reach out to the sinner... let us show them the love of Christ.

Let us also, aim to be more like our Lord and Saviour.

God bless


einron profile image

einron 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

Very good comments. We are human and are weak. If we stumble, we must seek God's approval and repent. Unless we repent, our sin remains. So we must clear the sin and be right with God. God bless.


Spiritual Soldier 2 years ago

Einron,

What do you think you are doing spreading such hate and heresy! God said to love Humanity unconditionally as we are in a neighboring kingdom. Our kingdom is not of this world John 18:36 and as Father sent Jesus into this world Jesus sent us back into the enemy kingdom to reconcile God to the world with the Word of God. God certainly does love the sinner but only punishes because of sin committed, John 3:16; 1 John 3:16 God so loved the world.. who are those who are in the world other than all who have sinned against God and fallen short of His Glory! Romans 3:23 Romans 5:6-8

Even atoned for we cannot claim to be without sin or claim to have never sinned lest we deceive ourselves and the word and truth is not in us 1 John 1:8-10. No one person other than Jesus Christ can live and has lived a sinless life.

to say that God hates the sinner is contradictory of Gods Character and you twist the context out of lack of understanding. God does not change, He is the same in the Past, Present and Future. Hebrews 13:8

We are allowed to Judge upon sin as Christ did during His ministry and as He taught us to judge righteously John 7:24 and not hyp0critically Matthew 7:1-5 , in 1 Corinthians 5:12 is a prime example of why we judge upon behavior but we shall not condemn lest we condemn ourselves Luke 6:37,

on the side of Hate you sir or man are murdering in your heart as you spew such nonsense of hating the sinner as doing so is hating the person. Matthew 5:20-22 and 1 John 3:15, our love is not partial as Gods is not Acts 10:34 because partiality is a sin. James 2:8-9

we are to love the enemy who is a continued sinner and we are to love our spiritual family who is a sinner but does not take opportune nor continue in it. 1 John 3

so to love your neighbor as yourself is not just your spiritual neighbor because we are not in our kingdom and the good neighbor is our enemy according to Jesus when He spoke about the good Samaritan who was despised by the Jews as Half breeds.Luke 10:25-37 https://bible.org/illustration/hatred-between-jews...

to prove we are to love unconditionally which means to love with Gods love which you have denied not just for God but His children as well.

Matthew 5:34-38: in verse 44 the love in the Koine Greek Context is Agapoa Strongs # 25 which is a verb tense of the noun Agape Strongs #26. Jesus is teaching to actively love the enemy unconditionally which is perfect love mentioned in the Last verse to be Perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect"in His Love" even though we are not sinless we are to be Perfect in the Love He gave us when He gave us His Spirit.2 timothy 1:7

for you to twist even more doctrine is perverted but forgivable if repented of. how can you say that Jesus does not condemn sin when sin is the wages of death. Jesus was not condemning the sinner but He did not condone the sin and told her to leave her life of sin(repent and sin no more) Jesus told us why He did not condemn her and that was because he was not sent to condemn the world but save it. John 3:17

in 1 Corinthians 5 Paul punished with the highest disciplinary action someone in the church could judge upon: excommunication. this was someone who was in Christ but continued to sin. this required a sin to be seen continuously and then acted upon/judged. Under the Old covenant and authority this sin would have been punishable by death but as a new Priesthood came a new way of going about what Authority we had to administer punishments but also our purpose while temporarily here. would you say that Christ said to hate this sinner? or love him now that he was punished and excommunicated.

further into the passage Paul hands him over to Satan for the destruction of his sinful nature. not condemned but for only chastisement in hopes he repents and is able to be saved before the Lord comes. even though the action was frowned upon this person was not commanded nor told to be hated just because he did this. but according to your perversion this is ok. as we move on to 2 Corinthians 2, Paul is asking the Corinth church to receive the man who was excommunicated back with Gods love so the person would not be discouraged and leave the church after he repented, but i would say even if this man did not repent we will abide in Christ's Love. as we are to have a gentleness towards those who sin and not come at them with a whip.so even though their is a difference between a saint and a continued sinner we are to love unconditionally no matter who they are. God is love,

for you to say He does not condemn sin is once again against Gods Character. are these passages not God telling us to not do such things?

Condemn:

to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong

Romans 3:20 ; Romans 8:3 ; Leviticus 18:22 ; Galatians 5:19-21 ;

1 Corinthians 6:9 ; Colossians 3:5 their are plenty more verses but i will only need you use these to prove my point that God disproves of such conduct but asks us to have mercy on and always forgive those who do wrong against us. their is only sin is unforgivable and you know this.but even if someone commits God will still love that person as with me.

Roans 8:38-39

38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 4:7-21


einron profile image

einron 2 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA Author

Quoting from the Bible is definitely correct.

Hate the sin, love the sinner is quoted from Gandi and not from the Bible.

You are accusing me of hatred but God is the judge. God loves all people, but He hates sin, and would forgive when sinners repent.

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