Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin? Why Christians Should Retire Their Favorite Phrase

Joe Forrest
10 min readOct 21, 2019

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” is one of those phrases that feels so baked into modern Christianity is almost shocking to discover it never appears anywhere in the Bible.

At a fundamental level, there’s nothing wrong about “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.” It seeks to be a more gracious counterpoint to the accusation that Christians are inherently judgmental and intolerant.

After all, we’re all sinners, and God doesn’t hate us, right?

“Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” conveniently makes a distinction between the sinner and the sin. And this is one of the reasons that phrase is so attractive to so many Christians — it grants the appearance of generosity without the need to sacrifice (or honestly wrestle with) your convictions.

However, while spoken with the best intentions, “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” often ends up being more beneficial to the person saying the words than it is to the person hearing them.

InTorn, Justin Lee writes,

“The basic point of the phrase is true. But “love the sinner, hate the sin” feels very different depending on which side of the table you’re sitting on. To the person doing the “loving,” it feels very generous: Even though this person is a sinner, I’m…



Joe Forrest

Joe Forrest writes on the intersection of faith, culture, secularism, and politics.