Love the sinner, hate your own sin.

“That’s just the opposite of what Jesus said. Jesus never said love the sinner and hate the sin. Here’s what Jesus said, love the sinner, and hate your own sin, and after you have taken care of that sin, you can talk about the sin in your brother.”

-Tony Campolo

I was listening to Campolo’s keynote speech at the Christian Gay Conference 2009 the other day. While I didn’t agree with much that he had to say, he often seems like a sensationalist too much of the time. I was interested in how he would give the message seeing as he holds a traditionalist position in that he thought that homosexuality was a sin, and homosexual should be eunuchs the rest of their lives. I’m not going to comment on what he had to say, but he did say the above quote during the talk. I quite like it to be honest. It is still a slogan, but what he points out is of greater impact and accuracy than the more popular: “love the sinner and hate the sin”.

I find so often I am at a loss as to how to react to homosexuals. I find it frustrating trying to discuss the biblical principles behind marriage and the explicit references towards what marriage is supposed to be. It seems that while I am trying to be open-minded and considering what they have to say, there also seems to be a certain amount of closemindedness among homosexuals as well. I don’t on the one hand want to be hateful which is how I’ve reacted in the past, with much malice out of frustration. But I find not only in myself, but a lot of Christians don’t want to bring homosexuals gently out of sin, but seek more to objectify them with hate to elevate themselves as not that bad at all. What I think about the quote from Campolo is effective in is the movement of the condemnation from others unto ourselves. The object of hate should be our own sin, and our own malice should be our depravity.

I read a very telling comment from Travis the other day, on lonelywanderer‘s blog. I’ve been thinking how much truth is in the comment:

“Build relationships, show love, and invite them into the kingdom of God (which requires repentance). Relationships are much harder than boycotts and protests. It’s easy as hell to hold up a sign. It’s hard as heaven to get humble and love people you have difficulty understanding or appreciating.” 8/27/2010 9:36 PM

The context of the comment is different from the topic at hand and was in reference to strippers protesting outside churches in revenge for loss of business for their protesting. I think the same principle applies here, Travis was saying is that we must be engaged with others if we hope to change them instead of distancing ourselves from them. When Jesus sums up the Law and the Prophets in Matthew 6, he outlines the two subjects, firstly God, and then others, both of which are movement of a focus from yourself, to others. These two actions are love. And love shouldn’t be extended to homosexual exclusively, but also to the heterosexual because we are all of the same flesh. The same flesh that is tarnished by the sin of Adam, and cleansed and renewed by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Second Adam.

Therefore, we should constantly be in remembrance of our own sins, and our own shortcomings. This removes any arrogance in our hearts, and any pride that may make us irrelevant to these people. Whenever the gospel is preached it is founded on the illumination of the Word of God, not the works of the preacher. The transfer in focus from us to God, would help us begin to relate to homosexuals on the same horizontal plane.

“”Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 (English Standard Version)

I have this “knowledge”, the reality is that I know so little, I try to cover up this with being overly critical with others. While I think they are totally wrong, I don’t do it with love, I don’t do it because I want them to be stronger in Christ. I want to pull them down to my level, by invoking a response and creating anger, I show it with a tirade of cuss words against people I dislike because of their tendencies towards eisegesis.

So, if we can begin to make sense of that, we should be loving people. I don’t mean love in the sense of tolerance that anything goes, but also so intolerable that we will not reason. I mean love in humility as a bold tool for spreading the Gospel, meek and gracious, bending but not breaking. I believe that homosexuality is a sin, reasonably clear in Scriptures like 1Corinthians6 and Romans1, even in the larger context people argue that it is a rhetoric technique used by Paul. Yet, though I know this knowledge, there is no love in my message. I don’t want the homosexuals to change, they just want to show they are better than them. But I what I should do is focus on myself, and my own struggle with other sins and translate that to a relatable and more cohesive message.

So, of utmost importance in relationships with homosexuals is humility because we are hardly any better. Understanding their struggle is imperative to begin to influence their lives to become more like Christ, who resisted all the temptations we experienced and did not fall.

At some thoughts a man stands perplexed, above all at the sight of human sin, and he wonders whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide: ‘I will combat it by humble love.’ If you resolve on that once for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force: it is the strongest of all things, and there is nothing else like it.”-Zosima (from Starets, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

What sins do you see in others that you don’t see in yourself?

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About JN
what happened to dignity / never see it on MTV.

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