Summary: Examination of 2 common phrases, "Hate's weak, stop it", and "Hate the sin, love the sinner" The main idea is to hate what God hates and love those God loves.
Hate's Weak, stop it!
This morning I bring you my second installment of the wisdom found in twitter. Donnie Wahlberg said, “Hate’s weak, STOP IT”. Looking for Scripture related to this turns up interesting results. I found many verses where we aren't told to stop hating. In fact, you may recall that I recently preached a series on things God hates. It just goes to show that good theology must win out over good feelings.
So, if we can't find book chapter and verse on this phrase, what can we do? I felt led to couple this with another commonly used phrase. We can't stop hating what God hates, yet we need to love those whom God loves.
Can you guess the phrase? “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
IL. From MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER in Kansas ok, on sermoncentral.com
Have you heard about Carl? Carl was a quiet man. But he would always greet you with a big smile & a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well.
Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The sight of him walking down the street alone often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WW2.
We worried that although he had survived WW2, he might not survive our changing neighborhood with its increase of random violence, gangs, & drug activity.
When he saw the notice asking for volunteers to care for the flower garden at our church, he responded. He was 87 years old when the very thing we feared finally happened.
On a hot summer day, as he was watering the garden, 3 gang members approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?"
The tallest & toughest-looking of the 3 said, "Yeah, sure."
Then, as Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arms, & threw him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, they stole his retirement watch & his wallet, & fled.
Carl tried to get up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. He lay there trying to lift himself as the minister came running to help him. "Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?” the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet.
Carl wiped his face & sighed, "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday.” His wet clothes clung to his frame as he bent to pick up the hose.
Concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you doing?” “I've got to finish my watering", came the calm reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel at his composure.
A few weeks later the 3 returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They grabbed the hose from his hand & drenched him head to foot.
When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off, throwing catcalls & curses, laughing at what they had done. Carl just watched them. Then he picked up his hose, & went on with his watering.
The summer was fading into fall. And Carl was working in the garden when he was startled by someone suddenly coming up behind him. Turning around, he stumbled & fell. And as he struggled to regain his footing, he looked up to see the leader of his tormentors reaching down for him.
He braced himself for the expected attack. "Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you.” The young man spoke softly, offering his scarred & tattooed hand to Carl.
As he helped Carl get up, he pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket & handed it to him. "What's this?” Carl asked. "It's your stuff," he explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet."
"I don't understand," Carl said. "Why are you helping me now?” The young man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed & ill at ease.
"I learned something from you," he said. "I ran with that gang & hurt people like you. We picked on you because you were old & we knew we could do it.
“But every time we came & did something to you, instead of yelling & fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You kept showing love against our hate.”
Part of the problem with our topic for today is that the world misunderstands hate. They often use the word incorrectly. For example, anytime they hear that they are wrong, they say, “Don't be a hater.” They assume the only motivation for correcting a mistake has to be hate. However, there are many circumstances we could consider in which correcting someone is motivated out of love.