This is a gem from everyone’s close and personal friend, American’s Best Christian, Mrs. Betty Bowers.

One of my friends linked in his Facebook.  Perhaps rightly so, someone pointed out that Mr. Cameron didn’t say that he hated anyone.  He is a Christian and he loves everyone.  This was my initial response:

In order to “love” everyone, but hate X, Y and Z – you have to redefine “love” out of existence.”

I was hoping to start a conversation with the statement.  It’s a pretty vague statement really and slightly incendiary.  I am well aware of the doctrine of “Hating the sin and loving the sinner”, and that ideal can be extremely positive in the right context.  For example, if someone is having difficulty with addiction, emotional problems, or other struggles; you can hate that they are struggling and that they are acting in ways that are destructive without hating them.  You can find the strength and patience to possibly help them or get them help.  If someone is a criminal –  even of horrible crimes – you can love them enough as a human being to refrain from unusual punishment, torture or killing that person.  You can respect another person as a human despite what they have done.  In the context of how we treat our prisoners of war, how we treat our criminals, and how we treat those who have wronged us in our lives – the idea of loving them but hating their sin can be a powerful idea.

Perhaps rightly so, she explained that I was mistaken.  She asked rhetorically, “Can you love your spouse/ friend/ child but hate something they do/ something they say/ an attitude they have? Of course.”

I agree with her very much.  As you may have guessed by some of my other posts, I have very strong disagreements with members of my family.  That does not interfere with my love for them.  She is right to poke holes in my sweeping statement.  

I still contend, however, when using the idea of “hating the sin, but loving the sinner” as a defense for otherwise hurtful indefensible assertions and judgements; the power of the idea breaks down badly.

I love you but….I hate how you love, I hate how you think, I hate how you socially function. I love you but….I think that many of your actions will someday cause the downfall of society and that we will all suffer because of your sin. I love you but….I think that you are going to burn for eternity in hell and that will be justice for you and I worship the deity that is going to send you there.

That’s not the same as accepting and loving others despite their faults. When you view integral parts of WHO they are and WHO they love and value as “faults” – you may be able to still “wish them well” and feel emotional toward them and call that love – but that sort of love is almost worse than simply being hostile because it can be more painful. Certainly you can “love” someone despite the fact that you think their relationships are sinful and invalid or that if society respected those relationships that our civilization would collapse, but that judgement is still hurtful. That judgement still causes suffering to the people Kirk Cameron professes to “love”. When the message is, “I love you despite the fact that you are an abomination and I don’t accept you.” – to me, that isn’t healthy. That makes “love” a meaningless fetish – just something that you SAY because it feels good to say it.”

-An agree-to-disagree, saved-by-grace, I’m-a-sinner-too, I-judge-no one and appeal to civility later-

My idea is that sometimes saying horrible things in a nice way or to cause suffering in the name of love is worse than in-your-face disrespect. I understand that you are sincere. I understand that the people who tried to “help” homosexuals a generation ago with aversion therapy and electroshock treatment thought that they were helping them live a “normal life”. However, just because someone feels as though they are being caring and is sincere in their beliefs and feel compassion – that can still translate into misery for others. Sometimes reality matters. Calling someone’s expression of their basic humanity; sharing romantic love with another human being – a “lifestyle choice” is painfully dismissive of the dignity of others and the reality of their experience. Your intentions may be pure – you are acting on your faith that means a great deal to you I know – but the result is the same as the overtly hateful actions that both of us would surely condemn.”