Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

Yesterday’s post about regarding iniquity in your heart brought my mind to the popular “love the sinner hate the sin” quote. I have heard this quote in 2 variations:

“God loves the sinner but hates the sin.”

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

So, are these Bible or Not? Neither are from the Bible although you’ve likely heard them from the pulpit. OK, so they are not from the Bible, but is it true that God loves the sinner but hates the sin, or does he hate both sin and sinner? There are Bible verses to support both positions (it’s up to you to go find them, so if you haven’t cracked open your Bible this past week here is a great opportunity).

The first quote, “God loves the sinner but hates the sin,” is atributed to St. Augustine, a Catholic Bishop and writer. His letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum”, which basically means “with love for mankind and hatred of sins.” So it’s not exact but the idea is God loves all of mankind and therefore loves the sinner, yet has a hatred of the sin. On a humorous note, something that you’ll only find in the Catholic church, St. Augustine is also the patron saint of brewers.

Over the years the quote has morphed into a simpler form, and taken on as advice of how we ought to treat others: we should as Christians “hate the sin, love the sinner”. This attitude has served many outreach programs well and supports the teachings of Christ to “judge not” and to love all mankind. It has even been adopted by non-Christians as we find the quote “hate the sin and not the sinner” in the 1929 autobiography of Mohandas Gandhi.


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