About a year and a half ago, I posted a link on the FACEBOOK page that supports my book, The Non-Judgmental Christian, about a gay group flaunting their sexuality towards Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas- famous for its anti-gay slogans and demonstrations. They did it by buying a house across the street from the church and painting it in classic rainbow colours. The posting triggered a fascinating debate about whether a Christian can both love the sinner AND hate the sin.  I hope you will find it as thought-provoking as I did on what it means to “love thy [sinful] neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

gay house
  • David Gilbert There is a difference between the sinner and the sin. We are to love the sinner but hate the sin. A lot of people don’t understand that.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian I have to say David that I reject that belief outright. If you want to love the sinner, their sin comes with the package. I don’t believe the word hate fits anything that Jesus ever did. We could have a coffee over this sometime if you like…
  • David Gilbert By that statement (“If you want to love the sinner, their sin comes with the package”) you are saying is that we are to love sin (which is contrary to Christ’s message and Paul’s letters). Sin does not define the person – this is the major issue that people to day associate others or themselves with. Rather the defining character of the person is them being created in the image and likeness of God.

    Christ always loved the sinner (the person created in the image and likeness of the Father) but hated the sin (the very reason why Christ came to save us). Christ welcomed and loved all sinners, forgave them (those who were contrite) and told them to sin no more. 

    Thanks for the invite but I don’t know when we could have coffee since it is a busy time for me.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian I’m glad to hear you’re busy -that’s a good thing. I think it’s important to understand that Jesus never said “hate the sin.” We know he wants us not to sin of course. What I mean by saying it comes with the package is that i don’t believe we can separate the two. We can’t actually love a person and hate their sin. Hate is a judgment and they will feel our judgment. If we choose to not judge the person for their sin, we are not endorsing the sin. We are being neutral towards it, neither endorsing nor condemning. The Bible is clear that only God is to judge sin, not us. When we don’t judge, we remove the plank. When we remove the plank, we see how to remove their speck – with love, not hate, or condemnation. It is a fine line but the effect is transformational. Thanks as always for an engaging conversation!
  • Noah Moerbeek Our Lord Jesus Christ did tell us to correct people, multiple times and then cut them off 

    But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Matt 18 15-17
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Very true for believers Dom. I think the keywords are “..shall offend against thee.” Does a gay man sin against you or against God? Jesus also said we are to forgive 70 times 7. The bible is equally clear that we are not to judge unbelievers, which includes most gays. The Christian community is way off-side on this one, I believe.
  • Noah Moerbeek But you do acknowledge that homosexuality is a sin?
  • Noah Moerbeek If you do, then do you think it is wrong for a church to preach against the sin of homosexuality?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Yes I do believe it is a sin. So is remarrying after divorce (unless your partner committed adultery). So is having lustful thoughts. So is envying your neighbor’s possessions. All sins should be preached about. None of us will ever be sin-free as we are saved by Grace alone. Jesus’ greatest command is to love God, neighbor as self. That’s a tall order that leaves no room to condemn sinners.
  • Noah Moerbeek So if it is okay to preach against it, and a person continues being a homosexual should not the Church expel him?
  • Noah Moerbeek In obedience to the Gospel
  • Noah Moerbeek Assuming he does not ask forgiveness
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Only if the church expels all the other sinners. Gay sex is a sin against God, not against man (assuming it’s not forced). The bible does not single out homosexuality as a worse sin than others. We humans single it out because it is one sin that hetero’s can confidently say we do not commit. It’s a great way to deflect attention away from our own sins, many of which we commit in our hearts.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Noah, I think that the purpose of making sin as clear as Jesus did, is so that we understand we cannot do it alone. We cannot “not-sin” our way into heaven. We can only beg for God’s mercy like the publican at the back of the temple. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Thanks for engaging on this page – much appreciated.
  • Phillip Campbell Problem is, though all those things are sins, only one sin is being redefined to say it is not only not sinful, but is a positive good.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Well said Phillip There are those doing the same with adultery (an “open marriage”). It has already been done with remarriage. Porn has become everyday commonplace too. What about the women in leadership positions in churches, something expressly against the Bible? I do not say that tongue-in-cheek. I love having women in leadership positions… These are difficult questions.
  • Noah Moerbeek Why would Jesus give us a command to expel a person from the church if he did not intend for it to ever be used?
  • Ky Mk I think we should tell rapists to not rape, but since we’re all sinners, we shouldn’t do anything about it should they choose to do it anyway. Yeah. Smart.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian We are commanded to submit to the government. Presumably the rule of law still applies. I don’t recall seeing Jesus asking for prisoners to be released or criminals to be let off. He did say to visit them while in prison.
  • Ky Mk That’s beside the point and you know it. Surely you’re not suggesting that we follow the law of the land but let everything slide where God’s law is concerned?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Noah, my understanding of Mt 18:15-17 is that it is for when someone sins against you – stealing from you or slandering you. You are looking for justice and this is Jesus’ teaching on what to do. If we did this for all sin, would there be anyone left in the churches?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Kasey, we both know that civil law and God’s law are not aligned. I’m just saying Jesus told us what to do when someone within our church body sinned against us.
  • Ky Mk How is proclaiming a sin a sin judging others? Why is this sodomite haven the fault of those who speak against homosexuality?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Not sure what you mean in your last sentence Kasey
  • Ky Mk Sorry. Your original comment “A clear example of how judging others has the opposite effect of getting what you want” seems to be saying that if the members of that church were not so vocal against homosexuality, the sodomite center/haven/whatever would not have been built.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian I am saying that. They want to flaunt it by building directly across from that church
  • Ky Mk Then your view isn’t Christian.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian now I’m confused. Are you saying they built it there by coincidence?
  • Ky Mk Is the Crucifixion of Christ His fault?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Jesus said Do not judge or you will be judged. When a church condemns people as “bad” for their sinful ways, that is judgment. Their judgment is coming right back at them, exactly as Jesus promised it would. I believe that is a strictly Christian viewpoint or else Jesus words are false.
  • Ky Mk Is the crucifixion of Christ His fault?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian I would add Kasey, that this is not a command. We are free to judge. We only need to accept that there will be consequences. Jesus advised that we should instead, not be hypocrites but rather take the plank out of our eye first. Then we will see clearly how to remove the speck in their eye. That is not being a doormat. That is being wise.
  • Ky Mk Take the plank out of our own eye FIRST. It is wise, but that’s not the issue. You’re not answering my question. Is Christ at fault for His crucifixion?
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Sorry, your question didn’t appear in my feed right away Kasey. I don’t see the connection between your question and what we’ve been discussing. BTW, I am appreciating how we can have this kind of debate in a respectful manner – thank you to everyone.
  • Ky Mk no problem, and amen to that last part.

    It relates because if Christ had not provoked the Pharisees, they wouldn’t have sought to kill Him. Going with your original statement, one could then argue that “it’s His own fault He was killed, the fruit of His condemnations against His neighbors”.

    Now, if you’re opposed only to the manner in which those Baptists chose to fight homosexuality, that’s another issue, and there would be room for debate. A lot of people don’t tend to oppose things because they love God as much as it’s a Pharisee attitude (in my experience anyway) and they want to condemn everyone who falls short.

    The possible retaliation of someone shouldn’t be a reason we keep silent, and the retaliation of said group is not necessarily the “fault” of the person/s who were vocal. Should a person struggling against homosexuality but falls at times be expelled? I don’t think so. Should the person who participates in gay pride parades, who practices it in defiance of God’s law be expelled? Absolutely. As should the fornicator, the adulterer, the drunkard, and everyone else the Scriptures refers to. We shouldn’t expel the weak and those who are trying, but the malicious, those who know the truth and refuse to abide by it. I think we can agree on that…I hope…
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian Well written Kasey. Thanks! 
    I suppose one could argue that Jesus threatened the well-being of the Pharisees so they responded in kind. We know however, that was God’s plan all along. Remember, Jesus said in Jn 8:15-16, “You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.” 

    Therefore I try to pass judgement on no one because I do not stand one with the Father and was not sent by Him. My job is to love my neighbor. Once a person understands non-judgment, they realize that it is a position of strength, not weakness. 

    I don’t think Mt 18 means all sinners are to be banished- only those sinning directly and personally against you, as a means of correcting them, ready to gladly welcome them back should they repent.

    I agree that the threat of retaliation is no reason to keep quiet and Jesus is our role model there – Amen?! I take the view that I would rather preach the good news of the saving grace of Jesus, then threaten unbelievers with the fires of hell for their sins. He is the prince of peace and his main message is love.
  • The Non-Judgmental Christian For those of you interested in understanding Christian teaching on non-judgment, you can get a free download of Chapter 1 of this book at Http://nonjudgmentalchristian.com This chapter focuses on Jesus’s teaching and when judging is endorsed or not in the New Testament. Blessings, John Kuypers

http://johnkuypers.com/blog/what-does-it-mean-to-be-non-judgmental