You have probably heard many Christians quote Ghandi who said “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
But that statement is a paradox and it is terribly condescending. Did Jesus look around and see people who broke His perfect law? Yes. But in the big picture of things, Jesus saw more than just their actions. He saw His own creation. He saw people created in the image of God. Instead of defining people by their actions, He looked passed what they did and saw them in a need of relationship with Him. Because of that, did He view them less because of what they did, or did He love them all the same? He loved them all the same, and reached out to them as a result.
Yes, He told them to go and sin no more, but that’s because He wants the best for them. He is not looking for perfect obedience, He is looking for lives to change and live in union with Him.
The same God who said that all our righteous acts are as filthy rags is the same God who said that it’s the sick who need a doctor. So how do we respond to this? Do we, as Christ-followers, love the sinners and hate their sin? Or do we see past their hands and view them as image-bearers of God who need His grace just as we do?
Now for my catchy tag line:
Instead of loving the sinners and hating their sin, let’s love people despite their sin.
Let’s see past what they do and love them anyway. Let’s see that they are hurting, broken, and in need just like us. Let’s throw away this concept of reaching out to sinners and let’s begin throwing ourselves into the same boat as them. We are no different. You need Jesus today just as much as you needed Him before you even knew His name.
We are not doing anyone any favours by hating what they do and labelling them as failures who have missed the mark of perfection. Instead, let’s embrace everyone. Let’s start saying that we are bad people with a great Saviour. Let’s start showing people the love of Christ by showing them they are more than what they do, and that is why what they do matters.
Christian or not, we’re all lost and broken people in need of a Saviour.
Christian or not, we are all sheep who slipped away, but we are precious nonetheless.
So before you label someone a sinner, follow the example of Paul:
”Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." - 1 Timothy 1:15
I have been dealing with a particular sin for almost 6 years now, and although I have tried time and time again to quit, I still end up coming back to it, thought I’m not sure it could classify as an addiction. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve become desensitized to the guilt I used to feel. It’s took a toll on me mentally and got me in situations that have pretty much scarred me for life and as a result I feel farther from God than ever. I feel lost. I’d appreciate advice.
Thank you for your sincere and honest confession. I will try to help you the best that I can.
There are four things that you need to know about yourself and two things about God. Let’s go ahead and start with you.
1. By nature, you are a sinful, mortal human being, but you are freed from that identity.
Yes, you struggle with sin. You are easily tempted, easily deceived, and easily disobedient. But you know what? You are also rescued, restored, and forgiven. You have given up the fight because you have made your sin a part of your identity. Remember the identity Christ has given you, and walk in that newness of life. Paul demonstrated this clearly:
“So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” - Romans 7:17
2. Because you are made in the image of God, you are made to fight.
Don’t settle. Don’t give up the fight. God made you for more than just living a life of self-gratitude and pleasure. He created you for change. He created you to be a creator, sustainer, and care-giver in this world. And that is why you feel empty, because you have begotten your purpose for temporary pleasure. Rise and fight the good fight of faith. You will be miserable until you give up the glory of yourself in order to glorify God.
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” - Galatians 5:17
3. You have given way to apathy because you have allowed your body to rule over you.
Think about it this way: when you give in to your temptations, you allow those desires to become habits. When they become habits, they become addictions. When you are addicted you are no longer worshipping God, but you are now worshipping yourself or the objects of your addiction. In turn, you feel far from God because you have placed worthless idols in His place. Destroy your idols, overcome the desires of your body and pummel the darkness. I love the words of Jonah when he realized that he was caught up in God’s grace after he tried to abandon Him:
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” - Jonah 2:8
4. Once you stop fighting, you have let sin win the battle.
You need to view your temptations as something separate from yourself. It is your enemy. If you give in to your temptations, you are held accountable because you are stronger than them. Sin hasn’t forced you to do anything. So get rid of it. Kill it, before it kills you.
“Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” - James 1:14
Those are four things you need to know about yourself. You are believing lies about yourself and your identity, and you must choose to turn back to God, just as Jonah did.
Here is what you need to know about God:
1. God has given you a way of escape.
Here’s the deal. You’ve been struggling with sin. You feel lost. You feel far from God. You don’t even feel guilty when you are tangled in your addictions or sinful habits. But that’s not how your story ends. I have some good news and bad news for you. But first, a truth about God:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedbeyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13
So here’s the bad news. Your sin is all your fault. You have allowed it to drag you into the street and bind you on the ground. You hold full responsibility for your sins. Because sin is out to kill you and not to please you, there will be consequences for that in this lifetime of which you have experienced some, most, or all of it
But here’s the good news. God is still faithful to you! Every time you are tempted, the Holy Spirit is inwardly convicting you to wage war. Make war against the schemes of the devil. The truth is that you may not feel guilty after you sin, but before you sin, you know better. If you struggle with pornography, get out of your privacy. Throw your computer away. wage war. If it’s drugs, cut off those relationships with your druggies and involve yourself in a recovery group. Wage war. God has given you the way of escape, so take it! It’s not the end of the road for you. Whatever you are dealing with, God is still providing you with the weapons and strategies you need to escape your temptations. Listen to Him.
2. God is still with you.
Even though you have sinned, committed idolatry, disobeyed, and lived in contrary to His will, He is still with you! James says that if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. If you are the prodigal, God is the loving Father waiting for you to come home. So return to Him.
"The problem with most of us is that we’re just like the prodigal. We’ve got to be down eating pig-slop before we realize that what we’ve done has totally ruined our lives." - Billy Humphrey
You are empty, you are lost, and you are broken. That’s alright. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s just not okay to stay that way. So rise up from the lifestyle you have led and return to the Lord of glory who loves you so deeply and has never left your side. God is still faithful, even when we are not.
Turn to the light and rejoice and be glad, for you are loved and you are forgiven.
God Bless and Much Love,
Do not let pride in your heart deceive you.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:40
It is just as important to preach the Gospel as much as it is to live it. If The Great Commission is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, we need to share it with everyone we know. And we should not just speak from personal experience only, but we should speak from the Scriptures and show that God came into flesh to die for all. Jesus may not have shoved a tract into someone’s hand, but he made it very clear that we would die in our sins without Him. If you truly believe there is a perfect God, fallen creation, Heaven, and Hell, you would do everything you could do to warn others and show how Jesus died for them. Yes, build relationships so that non-Christians may know that you want something FOR them and not FROM them, but ultimately they may never ask about Jesus and your job is to show them the Gospel. Don’t wait for them to ask. tell them about Jesus.
That is the most loving thing you could ever do.
”How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” - Romans 10:14-15
There is beauty in tragedy. Let us look to Jesus who endured the highest price for His sheep, even for the worst sinners of them all. Although He endured a false trial, false torture, and false execution, He turned what was intended for evil into the highest good through His death and resurrection. Behold: He has risen!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light."
— Micah 7:8
— Al Martin
— Galatians 3:28
Yet further still my body sinks
I am a man of little faith
But I will learn to love You
And abandon the rest, abandon the rest."
— Phinehas, WWII
Don’t think about a yellow brick road.
Why did you think about a yellow brick road? Just stop thinking about the yellow brick road and you will stop thinking about the yellow brick road!
You see, the more you think and focus on your sin, the further away you will be from overcoming it. Instead, think about Jesus and what He wants you to do and what He did for you. You cannot fix your sin, but Jesus can. Whatever you struggle with in this life, don’t let that sin be a distraction. Leave it behind you and press onward.
The closer you get to Christ, the further you’ll get from sin.
— Hebrews 4:12-13
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” - Matthew 7:1-2
We all need saving. Thank you Jesus, for I have sinned.
— Matt Chandler