You often hear people say, “Hate the sin but love the sinner.”
It’s a confusing and misunderstood phrase, but right on the money.
It encourages the idea of separating one’s behavior from their identity, something often encouraged in the Scriptures. What you do does not define you. It does not determine who you are.
People get this backwards all the time. They make the assumption that how one behaves is who that person is. And that has disastrous consequences. It ruins relationships, damages hearts, and wrecks lives.
The problem with looking to external behavior is that it sets your sights on the wrong standard. It has you focusing on the wrong things. It leads to spiritual navel-gazing.
The same thing comes into play when dealing with other people. You cannot equate actions and identity. They are separate things.
Your heart should break over someone’s sin. You shouldn’t hate them because they sin, you should wish they hadn’t done such and such, but still hold them accountable for it.
Truly hate the sin. Hate that is wrecks lives, damages relationships, and harms people. Wish badly people didn’t choose that path. Confront them, but not about their behavior directly. Build them up in their identity in Christ instead. Don’t bring them down by focusing on their sin. Build them up by pointing them to who they are in Jesus.
As always, point them to Jesus.