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Is it possible to love the sinner but hate the sin?


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A person who has never been addicted to anything , likely has a hard time truly having empathy  for an addict and also is not likely to be trusted by an addict as a therapist because ,  " they don't know what it is like " . It is very possible to be sympathetic to another person's situation in life , however.

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I especially like Bluedreams and Calm's responses. It think it is possible in theory (if difficult in practice) to love the sinner but hate the sin if the sin is separable from the person. On the other hand, I think it is impossible to love the sinner and hate the sin when, to use Calm's terminology, the behavior is attached to identity. To give a couple examples, one can hate the sin in the case of a thief because it is the act that makes the person a thief, but it is not a matter of their identity. On the other hand, one cannot love a homosexual while hating the homosexuality (at least, assuming homosexuality is indeed a sin) precisely because homosexuality is a matter of identity. This need not necessarily be limited to what we might call natural parts of our identity. To expropriate another from Calm, I am a Mormon because I choose to be, and yet to say that you love me, the Mormon, but hate the Mormonism would still be exactly like saying you love me, the sinister, but hate that I use my left hand to write.

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59 minutes ago, tagriffy said:

... I am a Mormon because I choose to be, and yet to say that you love me, the Mormon, but hate the Mormonism would still be exactly like saying you love me, the sinister, but hate that I use my left hand to write.

Are your sins sinister, you sinister sinner, you?!  Certainly, some sins are more sinister than other sins: Not all sins are equally sinister.  Do you have a sister who also is a sinister sinner?  Do you have a sister who is a sinister sinner and who, long since, has passed usual marriageable age, in which case she would be a sinister spinster sinner sister?  

What? :huh:

Oh. :huh:

Sorry. :unknw:

Couldn't resist! 

Carry on! 

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9 hours ago, bluebell said:

It seems like I've been hearing this thought a lot lately: that it's toxic to teach "love the sinner, hate the sin" because it's not actually possible to love someone and also believe that they are doing something sinful.

Today when I heard it again (someone was bringing up her toxic childhood in a podcast and she used this teaching as an example), it made me wonder.  Isn't this what Jesus does for all of us?  He loves us but hates our sins, right?

So now I'm wondering two things.  First, is it impossible to love the sinner but hate the sin and second, if you believe it is, why?  Why is it possible for Jesus to love sinners and hate their sins but not possible for anyone else?

When you stop to think about it, this question is a rather odd one from a Latter-Day Saint point of view. In reality, it’s like asking if it’s possible for one human to love one another human because, after all, we’re all sinners who need to repent on an ongoing basis because we all routinely fall far short of the righteousness and glory of God.. So perhaps the question should be framed thusly:: is it possible for a letter of the law self.-righteous person to love someone who outwardly appears to commit worse sins than they do?

 

 

Edited by teddyaware
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5 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Are your sins sinister, you sinister sinner, you?!  Certainly, some sins are more sinister than other sins: Not all sins are equally sinister.  Do you have a sister who also is a sinister sinner?  Do you have a sister who is a sinister sinner and who, long since, has passed usual marriageable age, in which case she would be a sinister spinster sinner sister?  

What? :huh:

Oh. :huh:

Sorry. :unknw:

Couldn't resist! 

Carry on! 

Oh my! You have outdone yourself! 🤣

Sister Gui says if she is pessimistic she would be a cynical sinister sinner sister, and then if Sister Gui, being LDS, is the sister, then I would the mister of the cynical sinister sinner sister. 🤣

Edited by Bernard Gui
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10 hours ago, bluebell said:

It seems like I've been hearing this thought a lot lately: that it's toxic to teach "love the sinner, hate the sin" because it's not actually possible to love someone and also believe that they are doing something sinful.

Today when I heard it again (someone was bringing up her toxic childhood in a podcast and she used this teaching as an example), it made me wonder.  Isn't this what Jesus does for all of us?  He loves us but hates our sins, right?

So now I'm wondering two things.  First, is it impossible to love the sinner but hate the sin and second, if you believe it is, why?  Why is it possible for Jesus to love sinners and hate their sins but not possible for anyone else?

Many claim to show charity for the sinner, but do not weep for them (Moses 7:37) or otherwise help them enjoy the redeeming light they yet have access to. I think this is an important part of teaching this principle.

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12 hours ago, bluebell said:

It seems like I've been hearing this thought a lot lately: that it's toxic to teach "love the sinner, hate the sin" because it's not actually possible to love someone and also believe that they are doing something sinful.

Today when I heard it again (someone was bringing up her toxic childhood in a podcast and she used this teaching as an example), it made me wonder.  Isn't this what Jesus does for all of us?  He loves us but hates our sins, right?

So now I'm wondering two things.  First, is it impossible to love the sinner but hate the sin and second, if you believe it is, why?  Why is it possible for Jesus to love sinners and hate their sins but not possible for anyone else?

I love my Latter-day Saint relatives, but find their beliefs and the way they live their lives to be abominations. While I welcome them for brief visits in my home, I make them leave their family members behind. I don’t want to be seen with them in public. And I certainly don’t want their lifestyle to influence my children. I feel for those that struggle with this particularly harmful religion, but I love love love them. 

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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

So perhaps the question should be framed thusly:: is it possible for a letter of the law self.-righteous person to love someone who outwardly appears to commit worse sins than they do?

From my experience, it’s not just people with sticks up their butts and holier-than-thou’s who struggle with this. I’ve struggled with both of these more than once. You get to hear some genuinely awful stories about humanity as a therapist. And there’s been moments in my personal life that have triggered anger not just at the sin but at the sinner. 
for me at least I’ve found that certain issues particularly get to me fast. They’re usually held to some of my stronger values. For example I have a harder time with stories of abusive parents then a person who killed someone in a drunken bar fight. Not because murder is better but because my personal experiences and the effects of abuse are seen by me all the time. And I’ve worked hard to make sure that I did not have a story like that. It doesn’t help that most of these stories I hear from the victim not the perpetrator. It’s easier for me to have compassion to the perpetrator when I know them. Generally understanding how they got there helps. It helps me also unwind their story to help them become something healthier over time. Many are simply products from their own abuses and hurts that have gone uncared for.
 

but I had some personal experiences in the recent past that made this method fail too. When experiences and beliefs of others began to harm me and the safety of my daughter in a way that I was fairly helpless to change, my resentment towards others again grew. I couldn’t differentiate the sin from the sinner because the “sins” were products of their identities and values. They weren’t about to let them go and I couldn’t value them and strongly held issue with some of them. So hating the “sin” would lead to some degree of hating the “sinner.” Understanding their ideals and backgrounds didn’t help because it didn’t make the problem I was experiencing with them go away. Sometimes it made it worse.  What it came down too was a deeper application/study of forgiveness. And still I couldn’t fully “love the sinner” in the ways that I preferred because their actions didn’t suddenly become less concerning in terms of safety. Some relationships needed ti permanently shift in a way that was less an open embrace and more a kind regard that allowed for more balance and distance.

It’s extremely hard to walk the fine line of loving a person and not their actions, decisions, and ideologies. That phrase is just too simplistic and in reality it fails quite often. 
 

with luv, 

BD 

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7 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Are your sins sinister, you sinister sinner, you?!  Certainly, some sins are more sinister than other sins: Not all sins are equally sinister.  Do you have a sister who also is a sinister sinner?  Do you have a sister who is a sinister sinner and who, long since, has passed usual marriageable age, in which case she would be a sinister spinster sinner sister?  

Please don't use that word that way, even in jest.

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44 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I love my Latter-day Saint relatives, but find their beliefs and the way they live their lives to be abominations. While I welcome them for brief visits in my home, I make them leave their family members behind. I don’t want to be seen with them in public. And I certainly don’t want their lifestyle to influence my children. I feel for those that struggle with this particularly harmful religion, but I love love love them. 

Or it could simply be - I accept/love them without approving of their life choices.  That is another version of love the sinner, not the sin.  There is a wide spectrum of how this idea is manifested (some more healthy than others), so we shouldn't condemn the approach based on the actions of some.  

What other option is there?  Must we truly love/approve of everything everybody does before we can truly love them.  That doesn't seem healthy either. 

I like to frame it in an acceptance vs approval way.  What relationships really need is acceptance.  Approval of all behavior?  Not so much. 

Edited by pogi
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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

There are many sins that society considers so awful that we mostly lack the ability to truly love the person who committed them, even after repentance.  We want them to repent but never truly feel any positive feelings once we learn of their sins. The exception being someone we can't help love like our own children.

Perhaps that's why Christ is more capable than we are.  He views us as we would view our children.

I'm not so sure that the concept of loving the sinner but hating the sin has anything to do with feeling positive feelings.

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3 minutes ago, pogi said:

but I don't treat them any differently. 

Do you celebrate with them when they celebrate? If your gay brother got married are you happy with them? Do you proudly include a picture of your lesbian daughter and her wife next to the pictures of your other married children? Do you talk about them to your friends? 
 

For at least three current apostles the answer is an emphatic no. Elder Gong requested that his gay son not post a picture of Elder Gong out for dinner with his son and partner. Elder Oaks tells us that we shouldn’t go out and be seen with our gay children. Elder Holland called out “rainbows”, and a practicing Latter-day Saint who mentioned that he was a gay son of God. The love is so thick it’s toxic. 

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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

A different take. My sister in law doesn’t believe in the ‘just love them’ advice most of us get to as our children leave the church. She is Catholic and draws different lines than I do. She believes you must be vocal and oppose your children’s bad or wrong choices. 
 

I choose to maintain relationships. My kids know what I believe. It’s not a secret. She chooses to be vocal and has alienated many family members. The irony is the choices I get sad about…i.e drinking alcohol, is not a sin in her mind. So, her son under age drinking is no big deal for her where if my daughter started drinking, I would be devastated. 
 

I would attend a gay wedding, she would not. I believe some exceptions for abortion should exist, she does not. What is a ‘sin?’ It depends on your beliefs.

This, I think is the primary reason for the adage. At least in cases where no one else is actually harmed, can we really be sure that what they are actually doing is actually a sin? The answer is no. We can't be 100% certain, and even if we are 99.99%+ certain, there is still the possibility that we are wrong. Therefore, our duty is to err on the side of love.

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4 hours ago, pogi said:

Which word?  Sinister, sinner, spinster, or sister?

Sinister used in a way that equates it with evil. When you use sinister to mean evil, you are perpetuating dexter supremacism.

Edited by tagriffy
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