Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:1-2, italics mine)
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13, italics mine)
Confused yet? I certainly have been. How can I reconcile verses that seemingly contradict one another?
“Hate the sin but love the sinner.” I’m sure that’s Hesitations 3:16, isn’t it? How often have we heard that phrase and just accepted it as gospel truth. But is it?
I have no problem with the idea of loving the sinner. I do that all the time. I love my friends. I love my kids. I love my husband. I even love my self.
Of course, “love the sinner” is usually used with regard to unbelievers. In that case, it’s even more clear. We’re supposed to love our neighbors, no matter what their view of God. Yet, often the church doesn’t do a very good job of this.
I’ve been grumbling way too much lately. Whining. Complaining. I hadn’t even realized that I’d gotten into the habit until my long-suffering husband pointed it out. And when he did, I didn’t exactly feel a rush of appreciation—“Gee honey, you’re right, thank you so much for telling me that I’ve been a grouch.” Instead, I retreated to my wife-cave (hey, if men can have caves, why not women?) and sulked. I even complained to God about Pete’s remarks! Then, gently but firmly, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to what I’d been doing. Sheesh. How embarrassing.
In the Evangelical Hierarchy of Sins, complaining isn’t the worst offense. In fact, I doubt we’d put it in the top ten. But God has a different perspective.