Kevin’s Conversations: Hating The Sin and The Sinner
What this means is that the Eagles were playing the hated Dallas Cowboys. Occurring twice a year every year, these two weeks are the most anticipated weeks of the Eagles regular season schedule. So much anticipation and hype and fury and deep-seated desire to destroy those #$*&@%s from Dallas. It is sublime when the Eagles prevail. (We won’t discuss what it is like when they lose, such as this past Sunday. 👿 )
We hate everything about those Cowboys. We hate their self-aggrandized claim as “America’s Team”. We hate all the smugness and arrogance that has permeated from their coaches, players, and owners throughout the years. We hate their five Super Bowl championships to our none. We hate all their fake fans. (Not the ones who are from Texas and the like or have some other kind of real connection to the team, but those that latch on to the bandwagon from afar. Especially those in the Philadelphia area who commit treason by turning their backs on Eagles fandom and instead support the abhorred enemy.) And we hate that Star. Oh, do we hate that Star.
We cheer for two teams every week….. the Eagles and whoever is playing the Cowboys. The top highlight of the last 55 years for us still remains beating the Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game. Some of our other top highlights don’t even involve the Eagles, but rather other times when the Cowboys screwed up. If the Eagles were to have a wretched 2-14 season, it really wouldn’t be that bad if the 2 wins came against the Cowboys.
Now, I can’t speak for all of us, but most of this hate stays contained to within “sports hate”. Sports hate is when we desire for all kinds of misfortune and lack of success on the playing field and within the organization of a particular team or sometimes particular players. But it doesn’t extend to hate in real life. We wish no ill will in any real circumstances in the lives of those on the opposing team. We just wish hard they fail on the field (or the court or ice, etc.). Some may argue that this type of hate still is not good, but at the very least, it would be difficult to argue that it’s nearly as concerning as other types of hate.
One usually only needs to take a quick look around to see some form of hatred. Looking on the internet, especially social media, expedites finding those results all the more. Looking within oneself is often the quickest path of all to find hate.
We hate our bosses. We hate that family member who is just impossible to get along with. We hate our annoying neighbors. We hate the person who drives slowly in the passing lane.
We hate ISIS. We hate our president and out government. We hate the LGBT agenda. We hate those who are homophobic. We hate the illegal immigrant. We hate those who would deny a woman the right to choose.
We hate Hillary Clinton. We hate Donald Trump. We hate those who are voting for Hillary or Donald. We hate those who refuse to vote for either.
We hate the sin, but we love the sinner. Or so we like to say. No matter that most of our focus is on the sin. And at that, the sins of others….. they’re much easier to focus on and hate than our own sins.
In my writings, I usually try to strike a balance. I will sometimes call out the extremes and say they are no good and assert that we must do better. I will speak to the wrongness, which sometimes could be construed as the hatred, that is contained within these extremes. And it becomes oh so easy to hate the haters. Yeah, but I’m only hating the sin, not the sinner, I like to tell myself.
Now maybe hatred is too strong of a word to use sometimes. At times it may only be a dislike that is not accompanied by the passion and vitriol that often comes with hate. Maybe sometimes that hatred or disliking is truly righteous. We are hating the things that God hates. And we’re keeping the focus of our hate and dislike on the things or actions, not the person committing them.
But how often do the sin and the sinner begin to overlap? Where they meld together and it is difficult to tell if we’re talking about the sin or the sinner? Where we say that we are only hating the sin but we still love the sinner, yet the manner in which we are communicating sure is making it feel like anything but for the sinner?
“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” – Proverbs 10:12
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” – Luke 6:27
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” – I John 2:9
I could go on but you get the point. And you already know a bunch of the other Scripture references about hate or at least know where and how to find them.
Yes, we should hate evil. (That’s where I would group the Cowboys. 🙂 ) The Bible even tells us to do so. I’ll let the theologians straighten out exactly what it all means to hate evil in those Scripture references and how that applies to how we should carry ourselves.
But I can tell you, in my opinion and observation, we are often getting the hating wrong. One quick glance across the world, even across social media, tells me that.
One quick glance into my own heart tells me even more.