I belong to a small women's group (four of us), women from my church. We meet every couple of weeks and have been going through a devotional book tied to 1 Peter.
Somehow the passage at hand, got me to speak about how the Holy Spirit is always working in all, to convict of sin. I mentioned a politician in British Columbia, who happens to be openly gay, and who was caught on video-tape stealing some jewellry from an auction house. A TV clip was shown whereby the man was crying and remorseful, and he happened to be consoled at the same time, on TV, with his partner. Anyway, my first thought then was, that's God in that; the Holy Spirit, who convicts the world of sin. I felt for the guy because, like him, I too, had been 'caught' in my sins and trespasses and was remorseful and through the Lord's doing, by faith, I was saved (except my confession wasn't televised, thank goodness). I know that the consciences of people is God-given and an internal shadow of the True teacher, who convicts of sin. Witness guilt. That comes from knowing that one has transgressed, when not regenerated.
The talk at the table was that the politician only was remorseful because he was caught. And some talk was said about the fact of his being openly gay. And then, of course, the oft-said quote that "we're to love the sinner, but hate the sin" came out as the pat answer. And I know that that is patently untrue and a lie.
If we are all in God and move and have our being in God, that means Everyone (sinners (who are trapped in prison) and 'believers' (who have been set free). When I see people fall into sin or commit acts, how can I possibly separate them from what they do? I was in the same pot, once, dead in my sins and obeying my former master, through deception. If I approach someone by loving them, but hating their sin at the same time, I am being double-minded, eating from the tree of good and evil and not seeing through that person, Christ in them, to God. I am not separate from the people I deal with on a daily basis. We are all one in God. And the kingdom of God goes where I go, because the King lives in me.
Did Jesus tell people, he'd love them, but first get rid of your lying, cheating, immorality? No, His love covered over their sins and saw Himself in them. And why? Because man is created in the image of God and who was the invisible made visible, Jesus.
Did Jesus love me, when I was 'in sin'? Yes. Does he love sinners the same way He loves me now? Yes. There is no favourtism. We all were prodigal sons and daughters, who came back to our heavenly Father and who welcomed us with open, loving hands.
When the Lord sends someone across my path, does he warn me first; hate their sin, but love them? You cannot have love and hate in oneself at the same time. Impossible.
This is a classic case of seeing 'double' as opposed to seeing God through the person, seeing with the single eye of faith.
I pray that someday, my small group will 'see' things differently.
All my love,