Hate The Sin Love The Sinner

Hate The Sin Love The Sinner

Human beings have different ways of assessing themselves and others around them. We become excellent debaters when it comes to defending our own mistakes and justifying our actions. Moreover, we expect others to be fully aware of the reason for our shortcomings and know why we behaved in a certain way.

However, when someone else commits a blunder, we swiftly jump to judgement and forget to hear them out or understand the reason behind it. Even worse, we may try to assassinate that person’s character by deeming them as immoral or perhaps evil. Unfortunately, some of us don’t stop there; we may further start to spread rumors about the shortcomings of that individual.

As human beings, we must never forget that our friends, family members, colleagues, etc., are also fallible. They can make mistakes just like us. Thus, we should try to treat them the same way we prefer to be treated when we are at fault. This is the beautiful message conveyed in the following quote:

Hate the sin, love the sinner

Where Does the Quote Come From?

The quote is widely attributed to St. Augustine. However, these exact words are not found in his writings and sermons. A similar match of this quote is present in one of St. Augustine’s letters that he wrote for nuns in a monastery where his sister also worked. The letter talks about the general rules of guidance for the nuns.

Moreover, what I have now said in regard to abstaining from wanton looks should be carefully observed, with due love for the persons and hatred of the sin, in observing, forbidding, reporting, proving, and punishing of all other faults. But if any one among you has gone on into so great sin as to receive secretly from any man letters or gifts of any description, let her be pardoned and prayed for if she confess this of her own accord.St. Augustine, Letter 211 (A.D. 423), Paragraph 11

Who Was St. Augustine?

Aurelius Augustine, also known as Saint Augustine of Hippo, was born on 13th November 354, in Tagaste, Numidia, North Africa. When Augustine moved to Milan, he accepted Christianity after being significantly influenced by St. Ambrose.

After his baptism in 387 by St. Ambrose, St. Augustine returned to his homeland Africa and endeavored to live a reflective life. In 396, St. Augustine became the bishop of Hippo, now known as Annaba, Algeria. He held this position till the end of his time. St. Augustine’s famous works include Confession, an autobiographical meditation discussing God’s elegance.

We can know what God is not, but we cannot understand what He is.

St Augustine, De Trinitate

His other remarkable work, The City of God, expresses human society’s nature and the history of Christianity. Besides that, his Christian Doctrine and On the Trinity have also gained immense popularity amongst religious scholars and preachers. Due to St. Augustine’s holy life and his insightful teachings of Christianity, he was titled the Doctor of the Church in the Middle ages.

What Is The Meaning Of The Quote?

The remarkable words of St. Augustine remind us to differentiate between the wrongdoing and its doer. We should condemn the offense and crimes because of their nature and not the person who commits them. Human beings quickly judge others for misconduct and start passing mean and hurtful remarks. Some people in higher positions even humiliate others for their behavior, considering it their right to do so.

We fail to realize that human beings are not immune to making mistakes. Hence, if a person makes mistakes, we must correct and guide them politely instead of resenting them or spreading hateful rumors about them.

When your friends, family members, students, colleagues, etc., do something wrong and hurtful to you, don’t get angry or punish them. Instead, try to reason with them and find out what triggered them to take such actions. For instance, many parents and teachers lose their temper if a child lies to them or misbehaves. The correct course of action should be to talk to the kid politely and try to understand the underlying factors that made them act inappropriately and why they restored to lying.

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Disliking someone for their incorrect actions will not only crush their self-esteem but also close the doors to their improvement. Many criminals give up the idea of repenting and changing themselves because of the hatred of people towards them. This strong emotional detestation towards them strips them of hope and motivation to become a better version of themselves.

Therefore, whenever you spot someone doing something wrong, don’t be quick to loathe them or get judgmental. Instead, try to understand their situation and explain to them in a friendly way about the nature of their actions, their consequences and the impact on others around them.

The Power of Forgiveness

When people harm us, our first instinct is to seek revenge. We experience many negative emotions, including rage, hatred, and vindictiveness when we are hurt. The idea of forgiving the ones who offended us looks preposterous and perhaps even a sign of weakness. Hence, many individuals dismiss the idea of fixing strained relationships with proper and civil communication. Instead, they resort to planning their vengeance.

Forgiving someone is a courageous act. That’s because it takes a lot of self-control to tame your anger and let go of negative emotions. It is challenging to control your temper and act rationally rather emotionally.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiving the mistakes and wrongdoings of others offers lots of benefits, here are a few of them:

1.    Sets You Free From Negative Feelings

Many of us think forgiveness is letting your enemies go without making them pay for their wrongdoings. However, forgiveness is not only for your culprits. Rather it’s for you to move past the hurt you experienced and invest your time in doing something fruitful.

When we don’t forgive, we keep our hearts and minds busy thinking about our bad experiences. Because of that, we keep analyzing the factors that led us to be deceived or hurt by the other party. As a result, we harbor negative feelings and fail to feel at peace with ourselves.

Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge and dares to forgive an injury.

Edwin Hubbel Chapin

But when we forgive, we get closure from the negative experience and can finally move on. Moreover, forgiving our wrongdoers allows us to get rid of bitter feelings and become more positive.

2.    Ends The Vicious Cycle of Revenge

Choosing revenge over forgiveness traps the person in a never-ending cycle of vengeance. No matter how much we hurt and inflict pain upon our enemies, we don’t feel content. Instead, an evil desire to harm them more becomes stronger with each passing day.

Many people waste their precious time and resources to bring down their enemies rather than using it  for something more productive. Another drawback of seeking revenge is it tarnishes the relationship between you and your foes and burns the bridges of reconciliation. Furthermore, you and your enemy would continue to inflict harm upon each other to satiate the thirst for revenge. This cycle of vengeance continues for a long time without bringing any fruitful results.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves

To uncover the catastrophic consequences of seeking revenge, visit the above link to further understand the profound meaning of the quote commonly attributed to Confucius.