Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

“I like to be seen as an ally as opposed to an enemy.”

Hold a Conversation

In addition to the questions below, please see How to use the questions for reflection.

Clarifying Questions

  • What does it mean for the speaker to be an ally? How is he using that term?
  • According to his story, what makes being an ally challenging for him?
  • Why does facilitating love matter more to the speaker than theology? How is he defining love?

Interpretive Questions

  • Is the speaker an ally–why/not?
  • Is it beneficial or detrimental that most people wouldn’t know the speaker was an ally? Who does it benefit and how? Who does it hurt and how?

Implication Questions

  • For you, what gets in the way of knowing people on an individual level?
  • Are there times when it’s important to recognize the social category people identify as? Why or why not?

Let us know how the conversation or self-reflection went. Email us or discuss the experience in our comment box.

Transcript for Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

To be seen as an ally to people without actually holding the same values or beliefs that they do, like I said, it’s a matter of being an ally with people; it’s a matter of walking with people and sharing the journey of life with people.

And that’s how I try to approach the homosexual community on campus, and the nonsexual and asexual and pansexual.  Officially, I maintain that homosexuality is sinful behavior, and I don’t support homosexual ordination.  But I can still be seen as an ally.  I’ve even been come out to, and that’s never happened to me before.

There’s the old saying to love the sinner and hate the sin.  It’s such a tough balance to, as I said, tightrope walk.  It’s a hard thing to do and I’m not sure how I’ve been able to get into that position.  I’m happy that I am.  Like I said, I like to be seen as an ally as opposed to an enemy.  That’s just good for everybody involved.

Our main call as Christians is not to be makers of theology and makers of the “truth” — we have an idea, we can never be sure — but our main call as Christians is to be facilitators of God’s love.  I always go back to what the apostle Paul says.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love and that’s how I try to live my life.  I try to walk with people and be supportive in wherever they are in their faith walk.

Everybody has sinful problems, sinful issues that they’re dealing with.  Homosexuality, if you believe it’s a sin, is no greater.

I think a lot of people who have negative views on homosexuality, a lot of the problems that occur is that you start to see people who are homosexual not as individuals, not as human beings, and then you also start to see yourself as more holy or more righteous or more deserving of heaven than they are, and that’s not true either.  Because I could take strong stances and argue my point very well to a group of nonspecific homosexuals or sinners or whatever… Getting beyond that, getting to know people on an individual basis is so important, so important to being seen as “quote” an ally, or to be seen as in the faith life.

You see Christ in people and see that they’re just as deserving of your love and God’s love as anybody else, and that kind of practice I think speaks a lot louder than my official position on homosexuality in the church.  And I’ll wager that a lot of people don’t know that I’m theologically against homosexuality because of the way I behave.  It’s part of love as an action.

  • Nicole Lambert

    Interest idea! But what are the practical implications of being an ‘ally’? Is this an action oriented status or a more mental? If ‘being supportive’ is part of being an ally how is this represented without supporting the sin? Not to encourage labels or people being defined by stereotypes, but is it possible to ignore what some might consider to be such a big part of themselves?