Jesus never said, "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

Augustine said it. Gandhi said it. A lot of people today say it, sometimes mean-spirited, sometimes well-meaning. Jesus never said it. He never said it, because he knew it wouldn't do any good, and if anything, it would make matters worse. He never said, "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

One reason Jesus never said it is that he didn't want to give encouragement to the haters. He knew that if you give license to people to condemn sin, they will take the job cheerfully and unceasingly. In the last few weeks in this nation we have seen many, on all sides of the issues, who are overeager to condemn, criticize, and cancel those who see things differently. Jesus didn't want to give ammunition to those looking to bring others down.

Another reason Jesus never said "hate the sin, love the sinner" is that people have a hard time making a distinction between the sins they commit and the people they are. They hear critiques of their behavior and they take them as attacks on their character. Their guilt over what they have done morphs into shame over who they are. Jesus didn't want people to believe they are anything other than beloved sons and daughters of the most high God.

In the end, Jesus didn't see the need to talk about sin. Rather, he did something about it, taking our sins upon himself, forgiving us. This Sunday, we will look more at the reasons Jesus never said, "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

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