Becky and I have been having a long discussion tonight about “hating the sin, and loving the sinner”.
She’s had some issues with some of the young women and leaders in the ward and came to a bit of a dilemma today: there were girls, and one of the moms/leaders of one of these girls, that went to homecoming dance as 15 year olds.
Apparently some of the other girls heard about this and were quick to go to another leader and “tell” what had happened.
On one side, the girls and the leader were wrong for even letting the issue happen; but on the other side, the girls who came and “told” were wrong for judging and almost condemning the girls and leader for making a mistake.
Becky and I have different feelings on the matter, but, as we talked it out, a statement came to mind:
Love the sinner, hate the sin.
I searched this statement on LDS.org and found some good information about charity, loving one another, and not judging or condemning others.
When I think of the Savior, I often picture Him with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. And He always talked with, never down to, people. He loved the humble and the meek and walked among them, ministering to them and offering hope and salvation…
I hope that we welcome and love all of God’s children, including those who might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. It is not good to make others feel as though they are deficient. Let us lift those around us. Let us extend a welcoming hand. Let us bestow upon our brothers and sisters in the Church a special measure of humanity, compassion, and charity so that they feel, at long last, they have finally found home.
When we are tempted to judge, let us think of the Savior, who “loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. …
“[And] he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, … [for] all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.”1
As I read the scriptures, it appears that those who receive the Savior’s strongest reproach are often those who hold themselves in high esteem because of their wealth, influence, or perceived righteousness.
It seems only right and proper that we extend to others that which we so earnestly desire for ourselves.
I am not suggesting that we accept sin or overlook evil, in our personal life or in the world. Nevertheless, in our zeal, we sometimes confuse sin with sinner, and we condemn too quickly and with too little compassion. We know from modern revelation that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”4 We cannot gauge the worth of another soul any more than we can measure the span of the universe. Every person we meet is a VIP to our Heavenly Father. Once we understand that, we can begin to understand how we should treat our fellowmen.
We Can Love as He Does
The Savior revealed the perfect priorities for our lives, our homes, our wards, our communities, and our nations when He spoke of love as the great commandment upon which “hang all the law and the prophets.”13 We can spend our days obsessing about the finest details of life, the law, and long lists of things to do; but should we neglect the great commandments, we are missing the point and we are clouds without water, drifting in the winds, and trees without fruit.14
Without this love for God the Father and our fellowmen we are only the form of His Church—without the substance. What good is our teaching without love? What good is missionary, temple, or welfare work without love?
Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope.
As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Are My Hands“)
I didn’t intend to almost copy the whole talk, but I really got a lot out of this talk, not only for the answer to the discussion Becky and I had, but also for how to handle sin in general – LOVE!
The best way to handle my kids when I feel they are doing things against what I’ve asked is to LOVE them in to it.
The best way to teach them the truth and show them I really care is to LOVE them and strengthen them.
The best was to bring the truth of the gospel to others is to LOVE them first, they show them what we have through example and LOVE.
I’m grateful for this better understanding and reminder.
I know there are things I can do to be better.
I know the Savior is real.
I’m feeling, more and more everyday, the power of the Atonement to help me overcome “natural man” tendencies that I can’t overcome on my own.
I’m excited for a new week (although I’ve heard there are some big changes coming up at work – we’ll see how that goes over).