Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

What I dislike about the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

I find this phrase offensive on so many levels. I know when I was actively involved in the Mormon Church I used this phrase thinking I was being compassionate and unconditional. I see it very differently now, though I still think those who use the phrase mean well.

For there to be a sin and a sinner there needs to be a judge, someone who places themselves above the rest; someone who feels their beliefs and their morals are the most correct; therefore, they will determine what a sin is and who the sinner is.

It’s one thing to decide what rulers you will measure yourself against; what your morals mean to you, how you will live your life. But once you decide that you’re choices are more correct than other people's choices, you are judging, and you become self righteous. Everyone judges, I believe that’s how we make decisions in our lives about what we do and who we’ll be. But, when we decide that our judgments determine everyone’s destination, well then the disrespect begins. And that’s what religions do, they create morals and rules to live by that will get you to your final reward, whatever that is. Then they determine that theirs is the only set of rules that will work, and their defined destiny is the only possible destiny.

I have been on the receiving end of this statement and I’m always taken back when someone says this to me in regards to my life choices. I get defensive at first, thinking, don’t judge me, I’m a good person, living a good life. I then quickly move to my next thought which is, oh yeah they live by different rules than I do, and according to their rules I’m a sinner. They are trying to love me, and somehow, this helps me release my anger and my defensiveness.


  1. Well put, Jill! I'm looking forward to your coffee contemplations. :) Love you!

  2. I think this is a great idea - you supplementing our mornings with some thoughts.
    Really though, this will be fun.

  3. I agree that the comment hate the sin, love the sinner is already a judgment call. And wouldn't it be interesting to turn it around each time one hears it with a comment such as " Does that mean you love Adolf Hitler and Osama ben Laden?" Now THERE'S some real sinners! (Well, at least what they do and have done is patently evil!)

  4. Peter Chrysologus (350-429)asked the question in reference to the woman who washed Jesus'feet with her tears: "Are we more like the Pharisees who condemned, or like the woman who knew enough about love to weep?" The woman, unlike the pharisees, did not pretend to be a saint. She was real. She represents "Church" in the purest sense.