Three ways to live

Which is your way?

Love the sinner, hate the sin?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vitali at 7:15 pm on Sunday, September 30, 2007

I have come across an article in Singapore The Straits Times newspaper today (Home section) entitled “Homosexual friends: Let’s fight the hypocrisy”. In it, the author describes her befriending a gay man while studying in a university in UK, which slowly changed (for the better) her attitude toward homosexuality.

Whether homosexuality is a sin is a topic of many debates. But what mostly disturbed about the article is the author’s shallow understanding of a very important Christian concept “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Here is a quote:

Having been brought up in a conservative background, I had always subscribed to a notion “love the sinner, hate the sin”. Gay people were alright, I thought, as long as I had nothing to do with their “wrong” lifestyles.

Well, “sinning people are alright as long as I don’t do what they do” attitude is not what “love the sinner, hate the sin” means. Nobody, in my opinion, gave a better definition than C.S. Lewis in his The Weight of Glory:

It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner–no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.

2 Comments

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Comment by starsapphire

October 1, 2007 @ 10:20 pm

Hello. Here are 2 links that might be of interest to you regarding the gay issue. (I got your blog link from your wife’s design blog)

http://mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com/2007/09/honest-words-from-local-christian-boy.html

http://mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com/2007/10/response-to-tw-tans-letter.html

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Comment by Vitali

October 2, 2007 @ 12:18 am

Thanks starsapphire. I’ve read both letters and mostly agree with them. But I must also acknowledge I have not examined the issue deep enough to make up my mind. Some day I should.

The point of my original post was, however, not whether homosexuality is right or wrong but to correct a shallow understanding of “love the sinner, hate the sin” concept. I am glad to see that T.W. Tan, the author of the first letter, understands it very well.

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