Abhor. Cleave. Bless. Overcome.

woman-caught-in-adulteryRomans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 17-21 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

I have heard people say, “I’d rather side with people who hate sin and sinners than those that accept them”. Now, besides the fact that I think that theology is a little skewed, my question is, why do you have to side with either? Why is this even a talking point? Why would we include so much of this type of rhetoric in our preaching? Why do some movements talk/preach so much about who should be put to death under a “righteous government?”How is that relevant to us or the people we lead? When push comes to shove, it would seem that we have to choose, and are either “holy”, or “accepting of sin”. I don’t buy it. I think Jesus, as well as Scripture as a whole, teaches that we can have a biblical, Christ-like balance. We can live right, while loving sinners and pointing them to Christ and Christ-likeness.

The verse above (Rom 12:9) tells us to abhor evil. We’re to hate sin like Jesus did. Jesus “hated iniquity”. We’re to hate adultery. It tears the God-ordained institution of marriage apart. It creates broken homes, broken children and broken hearts. It brings a man with great potential to a “piece of bread”. It’s horrible. We’re to hate it. We’re to hate homosexuality. Nature itself teaches us it’s wrong and unnatural. It has indoctrinated and polluted this generation. It has feminized our men and our culture. It has messed with God’s institution of marriage as between only a man and a woman. It’s been the cause of much abuse and harm of many innocents. It’s a vile lifestyle. It’s an abomination to God. We’re to hate it. We’re to hate corruption and injustice. It causes thousands to die of starvation. It causes wars, tears families apart, is deceitful, and is not becoming of “doing justly and loving mercy”. We’re to hate it. I believe God hated it and expressed it in both the Old and New Testaments. And the list can surely go on for a long, long time. We’re to hate sin as He hates sin. After all, it’s sin that nailed Him to the cross.

At the same time, we’re told to “cleave to that which is good”. We’re told to bless them that persecute us. We’re taught to love mercy. We’re taught to love our enemies. We’re commanded to pray for them that despitefully use us (it’s one thing when someone uses us under the radar or behind our back. It’s another thing when they use us, walk over us, and then spit on the ground and walk away). We’re to pray for them, not seeking vengeance. Jesus left us a perfect example of loving sinners when He forgave the woman at the well (a known, current adulterer). He loved and refused to condemn the lady brought to be stoned (a known, current fornicator). He used Mary Magdalene, and other ladies who others wouldn’t touch with a long pole. He blessed them, spoke well to them, forgave them and we see them, after His resurrection and ascension, part of and praying with the disciples. Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners”. Does this mean He condoned their sin? NO! He hated it. But this didn’t stop him from seeing past their sin, to lovingly drawing them in for the sake of their souls.

Today, let’s just be like Jesus. I don’t buy that we have to choose between being holy and loving sin. I believe that, like Him, we can hate that which is evil (the sin), while loving the sinner. He was full of grace and truth. Might we seek to be of that same Spirit in our preaching and in our living.

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