Understanding the Balance Between Love and Hatred ...

Some believe that a phrase akin to: “love the sinner but hate the sin” is to be found somewhere in the Bible. It is not. It was Gandhi who wrote, “hate the sin and not the sinner” in his 1929 autobiography.

However, the original context for this phrase was penned by the great St. Augustine, “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum”; which roughly translates to, “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.

While these maxims are not scripture themselves they are based upon its truth, which is filled with exhortations to love one another — even our enemies – and to abhor evildoing.

At St. Francis College Prep we teach our students that good leaders understand and practice the balance between loving mankind and hating sin, which can often be confused – especially in our modern vernacular – with terms like “tolerance” and “intolerance”.

However, Archbishop Sheen offers great wisdom here, “There is no subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the subject of tolerance and intolerance. Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons.

Simply stated, tolerance is saved for people, including our enemies; intolerance is saved for the acts of people that violate scriptural principles.

Some think having both “tolerance” and “intolerance” is an impossible task. But it is not. We do it all the time, especially with our children.

We love them even when they lie about doing what they did like cheating on a test or stealing from a store. But we also discipline them as a matter of principle, which often pains us more than it does them.

So, why can we be “tolerant” or “love” our children while being “intolerant” or “hating” their sin, and not do this for others?

The answer is not hard to find, it is hard to admit. The balance is easy for those we choose to love, and for those we deem unworthy of our love we can just as easily become hateful of them and their sin.

This is where good leaders view others differently. They view others the way God views them, as His creation. Which makes the balance between loving mankind and hating sin a genuine possibility.