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"Love the sinner, hate the sin." – Ghandi (+ Augustine + ???)

This aphorism is probably a mix of two well known quotes:

  • "Hate the sin and not the sinner" (Mohandas Gandhi’s 1929 autobiography)
  • St. Augustine’s letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly as "With love for mankind and hatred of sins."

Interestingly, well known conservative pastor John MacArthur refutes the oversimplicity of this aphorism.

Well, you’re asking a very technical question. When we say God hates sin and
doesn’t hate the sinner, you’re really drawing a fine line. God looked on all
His creation and said that it was good, so that basically what God created He
adores, He considers the work of His hand, and man, though the image of God is
marred is none the less made in the image of God. So, the New Testament says God
loves the world, God loves all men. It even says that we are to do good unto all
men especially of the household of faith, so we are to do good to all men for
they are made in the image of God. There is a sense in which no matter what we
do in our lives, God still loves what we are as the expression of His creation.
But He hates the sin.

Now I think that is also true in the case of Satan or in the case of the
demons or anything else. The angels, God created them and in so far as they
reflect and represent His creative power and His creative wisdom; God honors
that by, whatever we want to call it, I mean He looks at it as good. OK? He
looks at it as if it were positive, in the sense that it was the expression of
His creation. But whenever sin taints a being, whether it’s angelic or human,
God hates the sin. Now in our minds it’s difficult for us to separate that, but
in God’s mind it’s possible. I think we try to do that, for example in Ephesians
chapter 4 it says “we are to speak the truth in love.” Now in order to do that
you have to love the sinner while hating the sin. So I think in the case of
Satan, God does not hate the being as such, He hates what sin has made that

Now let me go a step further, there are places in the Bible where it even
says, “God hates a sinner” or “God hates an evil man.” But we have to understand
that in the context, it’s reflecting that God hates that sin and what sin has
made of that individual.