As Christians we often believe that we should love each other, help and support each other, tolerate each other’s differences and spend all our time with only Christians. We become a clique unto ourselves – aka denominations – and have no tolerance for anyone outside of our own circle of friends. We forget where we came from and we forget to love the sinners.
There’s a balance that we need to find in order to truly walk in love with God and towards all people. And we can find this balance in the Bible through the acts of someone who walked the walk and who gave His life for sinners – and that is our own Saviour, Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 says that God loved the world so much that He gave His life for us so that we could be saved. Were we righteous people deserving of this salvation? No, we were sinners deserving of death. The sin that was in us separated us from God and would take us to hell, but Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to go to the cross for us and take OUR sins upon Himself so that we could spend eternity in Heaven with Him.
What makes this so very precious is God’s forgiving grace. He saw the sin and the corruption in us, and Isaiah 64:6 says that our own righteousness is like filthy rags before Him. He saw the god of this world alive in us and He knew of the horrible things that we’d done in our allegiance to this god, but He saw beyond that sin. He saw the souls of His children. He saw US!
The shed blood has become our redeeming grace and through it we are saved! Romans 5:9,10 says that we are saved from the wrath that He will pour upon those who refuse to turn from their sin. We have been brought back to our Heavenly Father because He loves us and we are now part of His family and one with Him.
God hates the sin but He loves the sinner! That’s what makes His dying in our place so very special. He loves us in spite of our sin. There have been hundreds and thousands of horrific acts of sin committed against people since the fall of Adam and Eve, and yet Christ took even their sin upon Himself at the cross. He hates all sin but He loves all people – enough to die for them.
So as Christians, we need to take our cue from the Lord and reach out to people outside of our little circle of Christian friends. That doesn’t mean that we return to the bars and the dark lifestyle that kept us in bondage because to return to that could be wrong for our own sakes. But we need to pour our concerns onto those outside of our own cliques.
We need to be friendly to all manners of people and we need to be willing to help those in need whenever we can. We can’t have a heart that helps only Christians and that ignores the needs of the sinners because we’re following Jesus and we are to be like Him. He said in Mark 2:17 that He came to call sinners into repentance and so we must also work with sinners so that they can be saved.
Jesus preached throughout Judea and He told the people about Heaven and about the love that God had for them. Thousands of people turned from their sinful ways and followed Him. Matthew 14:14-20 talks about the multitude that followed Jesus and how He had compassion on them and fed them when they were hungry. He didn’t feed only His followers; He fed all of them.
Jesus healed the sick and He cast out demons – and many of those people were possessed with the devil and didn’t have the ability to become saved, but Jesus saw their heart and He cast the demons out of them. He hated the sin but He loved the sinner.
And that’s what we must do. We must hate the sin but love the sinner. James 5:20 says that “he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
Love covers a multitude of sins, and when we have compassion on those who don’t know God we open the venue of grace upon them so they can get a glimpse of God through us. And when they can see the goodness of the Lord alive in us, their hearts are drawn to Him through the Holy Spirit and they have the opportunity to become saved.
So our life here on earth is to share and grow with our Christian brethren, but our mission is to spread the gospel to the unsaved so that we can bring as many people to Christ as we can. We need to hate the sin but LOVE the sinner, just as Christ did.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” … Matthew 25:41-46