Hate the sin, but love the sinner is a popular sentiment among Christians– and even among secular folk.
Although the slogan sounds good, it implies an easy separation of who we are from what we do– as if Christians shouldn’t really take sinful acts “personally.” After all, God doesn’t…
…or does He?
If God doesn’t take sin personally, then the opposite is also true– He doesn’t take the good deeds people do personally either.
Let the thought process run its course; and in the end, we wind up with a strange sort of God without passion, unmoved, who doesn’t really take anything personally or seriously– who loves and forgives, not by choice, but of necessity– much like the sun which shines, not by an act of grace, but simply because that’s what a sun does.
That, of course, would mean we too, as Christians, should take good and evil impersonally, without passion.
Trouble is we can’t. …and neither does God.
In speaking of the relationship between sin and self, Paul says, “now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Rom 7:20, NIV). His point is that when a person resists temptation, sin is objectified and distanced from the self. …but the inverse is also true. When there is no resistance to temptation– when sin is exactly what a person wants to do– sin and self are one.
Personality– volition, consciousness, memory, and individuation– are all engaged in sin and affected by it. In short, personality is at the heart of sin. It’s anything but impersonal– anything but skin deep– it goes all the way to the bone.
Our good and evil acts have our names written all over them. God does take them personally and seriously. …and that’s why His wrath is so fierce, His love is so wonderful, and the grace that lets us escape from one into the other so precious.