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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hate the Sin Love the Sinner

Hate the Sin Love the Sinner

Do you know what that means? There are only three possibilities:
1) hate the sin, love the sinner
2) love the sin, hate the sinner
3) hate the sin, hate the sinner
The fourth one--love the sin love the sinner--is impossible.

Take the easy case, the third one--hate the sin hate the sinner--Islam for example.

Christianity says #1, hate the sin love the sinner; who says the second one, love the sin hate the sinner?--secularism. Here's the difference. When I hate the sin love the sinner think of how you love yourself and how you feel when you do something wrong. It's easy to understand if you take how you love yourself as an example. Another example is of a loving father to his child. I keep both examples in mind because they both help me.

I often struggle to know how to love in every situation (for example, in a particular situation, do I love by keeping my mouth shut or do I say something?) So first I have to know what is love. To love is to will the ultimate good for a person, meaning whatever would get that person closer to God, and it involves self-sacrifice and requires purity of intention. Back to my two examples, a father loves his child and desires his good; I love myself and desire my good. These usually help me to figure out how best to love in every situation, but the third example that I didn't mention is Jesus Christ.

The second Person of the Holy Trinity came down to earth and took on flesh, He was not born in a castle but in a manger and placed in a feeding trough. He came to a poor family and labored in obscurity for 30 years and after three difficult years of healing and performing wonders laid down His life in a most horrific and gruesome death. He said Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. Read the gospels. Every instance of Jesus's life is an example of how to love. And you may notice that he never says sweet and syrrupy things to anyone. There is no ghorboon sadegheh, no del o jegar, no gol goftan o gol shenoftan. He shows His love to His Father and to people in His actions.

So if you ever wonder like me how to love in any situation, ponder the three examples I gave you and then pray on it.

And what does loving the sin hating the sinner mean? Now this is really interesting. It means not disapproving of zena (premarital sex), but instantly calling any woman we don't like a "ho" (even though she behaves exactly like me). It means hating people for the narcisstic and arbitrary reasons:
stole my boyfriend, (personal injury)
is popular, (envy)
makes me uncomfortable about my own choices, (narcisstic injury)
is a geek, (is unfashionable)
is a liberal or republican, (has different political beliefs than mine)
is a frickan franistinian, (is from a different race or nationality or religion).
is a taghooti, (an ideological reason)

When we don't have a sense of sin, then our hatereds are going to be confused and arbitrary and narcisstic. That is the nature of things. Because sin is real, suffering is real, there is real evil in the world. When we have lost our capacity to recognize the source of evil (ourselves and evil spirits), then the world becomes a hodge-podge of post-modernist nihilistic imaginings.

Option #1, hating the sin and loving the sinner, actually frees us because now we can love people and grieve for them for their sins all the while remembering that we share in their fallen nature.
It brings us closer to God because now we are seeing things the way God sees them, and this is the whole reason God became man--to help man become like God!

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