Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hate the Sin

Eugene had not asked for forgiveness, nor did Jon expect the perpetrator to receive it graciously, if at all. Jon had come to the jail today to resolve his side of the forgiveness issue. If his action made a difference to Eugene Hackett—and he doubted that it would—all the better.

Jon stood to leave. Eugene turned to him with a leer. "What if I didn't miss? What if I snuffed them? You still say that?" The question was clearly not intended to test the depth of Jon's mercy. It was a taunt, a cruel jab aimed at an open wound.

Jon felt the pain of the verbal blow. He saw the devil in Eugene's eyes. The temptation to retaliate verbally rose like bile in Jon's throat, but he swallowed it. People might be unkind, misguided, disadvantaged, or evil in any number of ways, but they were still people—individuals created in the image of God. Appropriate consequences must be meted out for misbehavior, but those who misbehave must still be treated with respect. Hate the sin but love the sinner. How many times had he heard the pastor and others make that statement?

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