Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Read: 2 Kings 2:1-25, 4:1-44
Relate: “Love the sinner hate the sin”. That phrase has become so overused as to become trite and cliche’. How overused? Well, I put the words in quotes and did myself a google search. That exact phrase appears nearly a million times. Two other quick quote searches of variations: “hate the sin not the sinner” and “hate the sin love the sinner” brings that total to around 2.3 million. If that many people are writing it, just imagine how many more are quoting it and using it. The problem is, nearly every time I have ever seen it, this phrase is being used by someone who is doing the exact opposite. It is either being used as an excuse to be critical and judgmental, or it is being quoted tongue in cheek as a means of being critical and judgmental of those the quoter is accusing of being critical and judgmental.
React: And then there’s Jesus. He didn’t tell people to “love the sinner and hate the sin.” He modeled it. He was the perfect example of exactly how to do it instead of yelling at other people to start doing it. I’ll shut up now and instead quote one commentary on this issue:
What inimitable tenderness and grace! Conscious of her own guilt, and till now in the hands of men who had talked of stoning her, wondering at the skill with which her accusers had been dispersed, and the grace of the few words addressed to herself, she would be disposed to listen, with a reverence and teachableness before unknown, to our Lord’s admonition. “And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” He pronounces no pardon upon the woman (such as, “Your sins are forgiven” [compare Lu 5:28; 7:48]—”Go in peace” [compare Mr 5:34; Lu 7:50; 8:48]), much less does He say that she had done nothing condemnable; He simply leaves the matter where it was. He meddles not with the magistrate’s office, nor acts the Judge in any sense (Joh 12:47). But in saying, “Go and sin no more,” which had been before said to one who undoubtedly believed (Joh 5:14), more is probably implied than expressed. If brought suddenly to conviction of sin, admiration of her Deliverer, and a willingness to be admonished and guided by Him, this call to begin a new life may have carried with it what would ensure and naturally bring about a permanent change.
God, help me to not “love the sinner”. Even in classifying others in this way, though true, is demeaning. Help me rather to love people. Help me to love my neighbor. Help me to love my friends. Help me to love each and every person I come in contact with no matter where they are at, what they have done, or how they identify themselves. Give me the grace to give them grace and the decency. Help me to speak and to act with love and truth that those who see me might have the courage, conviction, and motivation to then stand up, and go, and sin no more.