On Separating the Sin from the Sinner
The more I studied this saying, the more I was troubled by it. I kept saying it because people seem to have the tendency to see the person and their sin as one element. And guess what? The saying isn’t even scriptural. It’s from Ghandi – not bad – just not in the Bible where I can find it.
After confronting my own sin, I dove into commentary and the original texts to see what the word meant in their day. The word “sin” in the Bible doesn’t mean “bad” or “bad stuff.” In the Hebrew the word is “chatta’t” and in Greek the word is “hamartia.” Pretty cool to learn that hamartia is a word used by archers of the day. It means when you miss the bullseye – or miss the mark, like the arrow goes off course. All of us have taken a wrong path, or wrong turn, gone down the wrong road. Instead of looking to Christ, we look off into some other direction and get involved in it at some level. That is “sin.”
What I found interesting was that the opposite of sin isn’t goodness or purity. Sin’s opposite is faithfulness. Turn toward the cross, we’re saved. But then I started thinking – OK, Paul talks a lot about the “Law” – you know – the Ten Commandments. So if I believe Jesus came and died for my sins, how does the Law fit into all this. If He paid, why do I have to worry?
Why do we have the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments anyway? Well, if you read them, you’ll see they are a checklist for all the crap we commit every day of our lives. And so they point these things out to us. Think of them as God saying to us, “Everyday you practice violence in your heart. Everyday you commit adultery or lust. Everyday you have idols before me. And so on. Everyday you do all of these things.”
And only through Salvation in Christ Jesus can any of that be taken away from us. We cannot do it on our own, got it? We can’t even come close. I can’t even take the first step along the path of restoration without the help from God. And I give Him total credit that I do walk the right path.
So for me, my mission right now is to love my fellow human as myself and to never, ever, ever, ever judge them. Love my enemies. Judge not. And yes, I am the greatest sinner of all. But He took me back and restored me.
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