Monday, August 20, 2012

Sin Is The Enemy of Love

I suspect that many of us find Mark’s comment (below) relevant and powerful because we’ve found that, most of the time, “hate the sin” has been more prevalent and obvious than “love the sinner.”  We bear the pain that proves it.

But if we see sin as something that injures and effects us deeply, and which bothers God’s determination that we should become familiar with His love, then we can hate it in a way that exalts and prefers love and the experience of it, while blaming sin as the enemy of love.  I think that’s what Jude had in mind when, by the Holy Spirit, he wrote:

Jude 1:21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. 24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.


  1. Jake Enns10:03 AM

    The thing that grabbed my attention is that Mark is suggesting, no stating, that he is focused on his sin full-time. I think that any focus on sin, even the hating of it, is still a focus on sin. I would suggest that a refocus on the God in his true and fully functional love triangle will do more to bring us to the stated end goal of "love each other" than anything else. In fact Jesus told us as much. "Love the Lord your God. . . and love your neighbor as yourself." I think His approach works best.

  2. Yes, "sin management through disgust" is no way to live, and no way to receive life. I agree, Jake. I think, however, that Mark's audience (and much of the church) would be more receptive to the truth following this kind of statement. Many are worn out from the failure of sin management, and they need to know there's a way out of it--love is the way, and He is Jesus. Focusing on Him means life and love and peace and grace, but sometimes the turning of our attention takes a while.

  3. Bruce Owens ‎8:46 PM

    "Hating my sin is a full time job." Mark, I can't say I hate my sin. If I go there, then it becomes very slippery, and I can easily start hating myself instead and that can also, on a larger scale, transfer over on to the whole world. And my dear friend Ralph, '"Sin management through disgust" is no way to live' I agree. When I, "Let My Eyes Have Me." and I am out of focus, everyone , especially church goers take on a twisted look. Yes, focusing on Him is the way out. And yes, again, "sometimes the turning of our attention takes a while." But the Holy Spirit is good with helping us focus and take a proper view and (I love this,) a proper view of ourselves too. How can I love my neighbor if I don't love myself? Christ in us is Love. For me, it is sowing to the source; God is Love.

  4. Joel Brueseke8:48 PM

    There's a great conversation about this in the beginning of this interview that Mark Lowry had with Jay Bakker.

    I think I'm somewhere in between the two of them in my thinking, agreeing in part and disagreeing perhaps just a little. Mark brings up how he heard Jay say, "love the sinner, ignore the sin," and he then says that he would say, "love the sinner, hate your own sin."

    Jay explains, "I just saw so many people hating people," and when people say, love the sinner, hate the sin, "eventually you can't tell the difference." That point resonates with me, from the standpoint in which Christians sometimes go around judging the behavior of other people, and eventually the other people are known for their sins rather than as who they truly are - people who are loved and treasured by God.

    I think I would disagree with Jay's statement of "ignore the sin," but only from the standpoint of what you said in your original post here, Ralph. "If we see sin as something that injures and effects us deeply, and which bothers God’s determination that we should become familiar with His love," then I don't believe it should be ignored, for the very reasons you stated. But from the standpoint of judging others, definitely "sin" is not the issue.

    With Mark's comments, perhaps what he's saying is something close to, "remove the plank from my own eye before trying to deal with the speck in someone else's eye, and you do the same, and in the process let's love each other." :)

  5. I really appreciate your comments, Jake, Bruce and Joel, as well as the video link. Good stuff.

  6. Sue Humphreys Thompson8:49 PM

    You know, Jesus didn't say "NEVER remove the speck from someone else's eye." He pointed out that the plank had to be removed from your own FIRST. Removing a speck is delicate and requires gentleness and skill. Once the plank is removed from your eye, you won't attempt to use a pair of locking pliers to get at that speck.

  7. Well said, Sue. I have found that people don't appreciate it when I come at them with a chisel in hand. Strangely enough. :)

  8. Sue Humphreys Thompson8:49 PM

    Truly, in my life I have welcomed the hammer and chisel because I was so ashamed of myself and sure that God needed to clean me out even more than He already had. But I'm finally "getting" grace. After 40+ years. GLORY.

  9. I sure know about that, Sue. There is only one true expert on life--and He doesn't seem very picky or upset about the junk I do. His work with me is uniquely loving and powerful, which releases His life in me. And that's the deal.

  10. Joel Brueseke8:51 PM

    I've found that whether I have a speck or a plank or a log or a chip or a piece of dust or whatever, the only thing that's helped to remove it is a lot of love and grace and tenderness, and that's aided me tremendously when I've seen a speck in someone else. :)

  11. Brent Harris8:51 PM

    ‎"Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself." Gal. 6:1

  12. Sue Bartolomeo8:51 PM

    For me, I have to constantly remind myself of the wonderful forgiveness God has shown me, in order to show that to others. I wish it came easy-and the other way around, instead of that "conviction" each time. In other words, I wished I loved others and forgave them by habit, before I was reminded of what God has done for me.