Hate the Sin… Hate the Sinner?
One of the most important steps in overcoming an unforgiving attitude is to focus your attention on how much God has forgiven you. The parable of the unmerciful servant vividly illustrates this principle (Matt. 18:21-35)….
This parable illustrates an attitude that is all too common among Christians. We take God’s forgiveness for granted, while we stubbornly withhold our forgiveness from others. In effect, we behave as though others’ sins against us are more serious than our sins against God. Jesus teaches that this is a terribly sinful thing to do–it is an affront to God and his holiness, and it demands the forgiveness Jesus purchased for us at Calvary.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 217
Food for Thought
You may have heard or used the phrase, “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” though this is much easier said than done. We often end up hating the sin and the sinner, too. It’s hard to separate the person from the offense, but there seems to be something more going on here than just our limited human sin-sinner separation skills.
Consider what the Bible says comes before a fall–pride (Prov. 16:18). Hating not only the sin but the sinner helps maintain the illusion of our superiority over the other person. “I would never do that, say that, or think that.” And that (whatever the sin is) soon gets blended into the sinner, with the result being, “I’m not like her or him or them.”
Remember the lady from the television commercial? “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Little did she know, but she was giving us a fairly good paraphrase of Romans 3.23 — all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Failing to admit this daily keeps us tight-fisted with forgiveness and mercy–the very bloodstained gifts that flowed from the open hands of Jesus on the cross. Failing to say this leaves us with a pridefully skewed version of that advertisement: “I’m up, I’ve never fallen (at least not like you), and so I don’t need help!” And while we try to convince ourselves that we’re just saying that about our brothers, we’re really saying that to Him. Instead, let’s remember that we’ve all fallen, and we can’t get up. Rescue us, O Lord. Forgive us our sin as we forgive those who sin against us. Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
|Resources to Help You Respond to Conflict BiblicallyWhat does peacemaking have to do with the Masele Plant? Answers to this and many other questions can be found at Peacemaker Ministries’ blog; Route 5:9 Reflections on the Journey of Living Out Matthew 5:9. Our desire is to reflect on the peacemaking journey, gospel-centered relationships, and life in the church.We encourage you to take a few minutes, jump over to our blog, and then make it a regular part of your blog reading. We trust it will be a blessing and encouragement to you.
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