067. How Do I Love a Sinner Without Condoning the Sin?

Sometimes we get a little confused with being all loving and trying to be non-judgemental.  As if loving someone means to be all supportive of them as they live an openly sinful lifestyle like living in rebellion or eating at Taco Bell.

Yeah, “Love is patient,” “love is kind” and “bears all things,” and people like bringing up the fact that Christ ate with sinners, but somehow people take all this to mean that we need to accept people for who they are.

But they leave out the rest of the passages – which really means they’re taking verses out of context.

Like if I said, “Your cake is great… for me to sit on.”  You could tell people that I said “Your cake is great,” and people would think I thought your cake was delicious.  But leaving out the second part of the statement is misleading.  And people would not appreciate how comfortable your cake is.

It’s the same with these verses.  The rest of the “Love is patient” verse goes, love “does not rejoice in iniquity.”  And Christ went on to say, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

Christ wasn’t hanging out with sinners for no reason, He still called them sinners and compared them to the sick that needed healing.  Christ often said to the sinner, “Go and sin no more.”

We aren’t supposed to like sin.  We’re not supposed to like it when the people we love sin.  We can’t support or condone the sin.

If we truly love the person, we don’t condone their sin but rather try to get them to turn from their sin.  And obviously we try to do this in a loving way.

This doesn’t mean you have to pound them over the head, or that you always confront them over it every day.

So what do we do?

We need wisdom to go along with your love. 

You may have to wait for openings where they ask you your opinion on something.  Maybe you need to invest months of prayer that God will soften their heart so that an opportunity arises.

It’s not just about them.  It’s about you too.

You need to be praying for wisdom.  It would be a shame for your love to cause them to turn off completely simply because you were a complete idiot.

It’s about them – AND it’s about you.  And your delicious… yet comfortable cake.


JN 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. [2] At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. [3] The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group [4] and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. [5] In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” [6] They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. [7] When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” [8] Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

JN 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. [10] Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

JN 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Take time to pray: Pray that you will be able to love, without condoning but with wisdom.

Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Love.

10 Thoughts on “067. How Do I Love a Sinner Without Condoning the Sin?

  1. This was very encouraging to me this morning!!!!

  2. There's a kid in my school who openly practices homosexuality. I'm not sure how this site feels about it, but anyways…

    I'm not even sure if he'll listen to me at all. I mean condemning and pointing fingers isn't really my style, but how do I deal with this without sounding like a total a-hole? He's a really nice kid and I don't really wanna lose his friendship.

    • conradtolosa on 29 January, 2013 at 10:38 pm said:

      There's a couple things to think about when dealing with someone in sin. First, are they a Christian or not? If they're not, then we can't hold them to the same standards as Christians. 1 Cor 5:12 "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?"

      If they are a believer then, it's different. Then like what I said in the article – think long term ministry. You're not going to change someone with magic words and change them and argue logic into someone's heart.

      You have to use wisdom and the fruit of the spirit. Always treat others with a Christ-like love. Have patience – look for opportunities to say something if their heart is open to what you might have to say. Live with joy so they see something different in you that they want in their life. And of course be praying for them, that God would soften their heart, and for yourself for wisdom for the who, what, where, when, why and how.

      A lot of this type of stuff is in my Relationship tagged devotionals. I would read a bunch of those cause I go into further detail on stuff I just touched on in here.

      I also want to point out that for some reason a lot of Christians single out homosexuality as a sin over all other sins, as if heterosexuality before marriage is somehow less of a sin. Or being disrespectful to parents or a slanderer. Openly sinning is basically rebellion. We should be just as concerned with our fellow Christians who are openly sinning with one sin or another sin. This is not to say you shouldn't say anything to any Christian openly sinning, but that you should try to help all Christians that God wants you to minister to, not just ones with sins that our Christian society considers worse than others.

      And when dealing with any Christian living in open sin, ministering to them and close friendship with them are two different things.

      It's a lot to think about, so I hope I gave you some starting off points.
      http://decapolis.com/tag/relationships

      Hope it helps,
      Conrad

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