Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin??? Not So Fast

This is a quote from Christian recording artist and comedian Mark Lowry. At first read it sounds like quite an admirable quote. It seems here that Lowry is saying that instead of focusing on everyone else's sin, that we should leave them alone and focus on our own sin. He ends off by saying "I'll hate my sin and let's just love each other!"

But here's another question. What do you consider to be sin? Are sins certain acts that we take part in? Is sin the nature of our humanness? 

Growing up within fundamentalist evangelicalism, I was taught that sin was both. I was born with a sinful nature, and I committed acts of sin if I lied or cheated or watched Britney-Spears-in-a-bikini videos. Hating my own sin to a degree also meant hating a part of myself.  There is this fundamentalist evangelical mindset out there that were it not be for the grace of Jesus and God (which confusingly were the same, along with the Holy Ghost), that we would be miserable little twerps. Or as Amazing Grace says, "wretches."

The terminology of "hate the sin" can become obsessive for many Christians as they try to erase their unworthiness and each blemish that they can find.  Even if one believes that Jesus, by his blood sacrifice was the atonement for all of our sins - something I do not believe - it still leaves one to have a pretty glum view of their filthy selves.

I believe instead that we should have grace and gentleness when it comes to ourselves, and often our "sinful" or dark parts can teach us more about who we are. Often it is a better thing to accept our so-called sins in order to be a more whole person. Of course sometimes this isn't the case and we need to work things through with therapists and counselors.

But "Hate The Sin"? Nah. How about "Understand Yourself."