Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

Based on a recent conversation with a friend, I've come to better understand why "love the sinner, hate the sin" is a phrase that is loathed by some. Personally, I hear the phrase 'love the sinner, hate the sin,' and I think exactly that: A) love the sinner, B) hate the sin. This doesn't seem problematic to me; simply two clauses that seem ideologically sound. Others hear this phrase and immediately think about how poorly this mantra has been executed by some of its advocates. "Has there ever been a phrase quite like 'Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin,' intended to express love, that falls so dramatically short of its goal?" The takeaway is that the phrase is essentially useless because good intentions have sometimes, or according to this author, has "uniformly" resulted in hurt and pain on the receiving end. Still, I wondered, what is wrong with the phrase itself? After all, it is really the poor application of the phrase that has caused pain. Could the simple phrase denote harm and pain all by itself? According to the same author, it does: "And uniformly, the people who have been on the receiving end of 'Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin' report it as hurtful. If you're using this language with people, it hurts them. Please stop." She also suggests that the problem with this phrase "is about our Christian lexicon and the ways we need to evaluate our words." I concur that communication is critical if we are to perform any type of outreach to others, thus, evaluation of our words, both in implication and inference, is an important step.