I am taking time while on vacation to post some expanded questions relating to the Christian life and ministry. Yesterday, I asked a question about love, specifically, whether our love is focused on eternal or earthly things. Today, I want to ask a question about sin. Yes, sin. This is a question that gets to the heart of how we view any offense against a holy God. It tries to identify what we think about when we do those things that offend God. And it is a question that will drastically affect the way we relate to others in ministry. Here's the question:
Do I hate sin?
I know that seems simple. It sounds like a trick question. For the Christian knows that they are to hate sin. But this question is not about whether you know you are to hate it. The question is, do you?
The second beatitude states, "blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). This is not in reference to mourning over the loss of a loved one or a sad movie. In the context, it is the mourning over those things that offend God. So, do you? When was the last time you mourned over your gossip? When have you weeped over your sexually perverse thoughts? Do you mourn over your sin?
My guess is that you see people sin all the time. You have read about the sins of people in the Bible, and witnessed the consequences to their sins. But then you still sin. Why? Because you do not hate it. I am certain there are some sins you do hate. You hate adultery. You hate murder. You hate homosexuality. But hatred of sin does not mean you get to pick and choose which sins you dislike. It means you hate all sins.
I often treat sin like I treat potatoes. I hate potatoes. I despise them. It is partly the texture and partly the taste, but I can't stand them. They can be served baked, mashed, twice-baked, scalloped . . . it doesn't matter, I hate them. Except when you cut them really thin and deep fry them. Then it is easy to put away a bag of chips or even some McDonald's fries (if they really are potatoes). I say I hate potatoes, but in reality, I hate most potatoes.
I do the same thing with sin, and my guess is you do as well. You say that you hate sin, but there are some sins that are more than okay for you. You probably even revel in them. The thoughts of the Psalmist is completely lost on you (and me): "Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:104).
But it is even deeper than this. The hatred of sin means that you hate the sins in others. The Psalmist also says, "No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes" (Psalm 101:7). A true hatred of sin affects who you associate with in life. It impacts your relationships.
To love sin is worse than to commit it. In the Valley of Vision, there is a quote in one of the prayers that has always stuck with me. It gets to the reason why hatred of sin is so important.
"Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed, as in the greatness of the person sinned against."
That person is God! You think it is just an innocent moment of unthankfulness, but in reality, it is a slap in the face of a sovereign God. It is not just a moment of indiscretion of lust, it is an offense against the One who created male and female. It is not just a moment of anger that will go away, it is an opposition against the only good and true One.
It is my prayer in my life that I will grow deeper and deeper in love with Christ and deeper and deeper in hatred of sin. What about you?