What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”?
To some, maybe it’s something that their parents would say to them when they heard them gossiping. Maybe it’s something you were taught in school, or maybe it’s a phrase you’ve mocked or not taken seriously. But this phrase is synonymous with one of the greatest commandments Jesus gave us: to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here’s where the connection comes in:
We are all sinners. We are all sinners, yet we want the best for ourselves, and we love ourselves enough to want good things for our lives. Just as we want good things for ourselves despite our sinfulness, we should want the best for our brothers and sisters despite their sinfulness.
Sin plagues every human heart. While some may struggle more than others, we are all tempted on a daily basis to turn away from God. To love the sinner and hate the sin is to acknowledge that our brother or sister is constantly being pursued by God. In order to love the sinner, we must love ourselves enough to strive for a better relationship with God. How we view sin starts with how we view our own struggles, and if we are constantly getting down on ourselves about falling into temptation, that attitude will transfer to our brothers and sisters who need our support.
To love the sinner and hate the sin—and to love our neighbors as ourselves—we have to be real about what sin is. No one is so far gone that God cannot reach them. He’s pursuing their hearts constantly, and every little victory counts in their walk toward eternity. God is so patient with us. Let’s glorify him and imitate him by being patient with one another— and with ourselves.
Meet Fr. Mike Schmitz
Fr. Mike Schmitz serves as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and as chaplain for the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
He is a presenter in Ascension’s Chosen, Altaration, and The 99 programs, and has a channel on Ascension Presents. He is also the host of the Ascension podcasts The Bible in a Year and The Catechism in a Year.