Loving the Sinner (more sorrow for sin)

There is a well worn phrase popular among Christians that I honestly think does more harm than it does good even though it is mostly good meaning: “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.” This quote suggests that we separate the person committing a sin from the act itself. In that context, I agree with it completely. Of course, the idea of hating sin also has scriptural context. For instance, Alma 37:32 tells us that we should “teach…an everlasting  hatred against sin and iniquity.” However, I think that hatred is an emotion that is dangerous and rather destructive. If we are not careful, it is far too easy to spill into a visceral dislike for the person who is not living in accordance with God’s commands. It is an appropriate emotion for sin in the abstract, but not a very good one for empathizing with those we care about.

 I think a far better response to sin is the one expressed in the beautiful hymn ‘More Holiness Give Me’

More holiness give me,More sweetness within,More patience in suff’ring, More sorrow for sin,


I love the idea of feeling sorrow for sin. I think sorrow is an appropriate response that we will feel if we truly love our fellow man. We know that ‘wickedness was never happiness’ and that satan wants those that we care about to be ‘miserable like unto himself.’ Ultimately, if we love someone we will feel grief because the choices they are making can not lead to their happiness. This is the same emotion that God expressed to enoch when he wept, and the same emotion Christ expressed when he wept over Jerusalem. 

If we are motivated by Hatred, we will be poor advocates for Christ because we will not be able to show others the love that he showed. If instead we truly show sorrow at the sin out of a pure desire for the happiness of others, then the light of Christ will be reflected in our countenances and others will be blessed




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