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On Sinning
Published on February 15, 2012 by Sara Foss

I really hate the expression "love the sinner, hate the sin."

Whenever I hear this expression, I always feel like going out and doing something positively sinful. Which is not, I think, the speaker's intended effect. Regardless, the expression seems to tap into my contrarian side.

Lately, I've decided that the best way to deal with "love the sinner, hate the sin" is to give it a slight alteration. My preferred expression: "love the sin, hate the sinner."

I recently unveiled my new expression to a friend, and she cocked a quizzical eyebrow at me, and said, "Are you sure about that?"

"Absolutely," I said. Then I repeated it, just for fun. "Love the sin, hate the sinner."

"OK," she said. "You're a pastor's kid, so I guess you would know."

I smiled.

And began to hatch a fiendish plan.

I would try to get everyone I knew to start saying "love the sin, hate the sinner." And maybe I could convince them to try to get everyone they knew to say it, and so on and so forth, and maybe, just maybe, we could eradicate one of the more piously annoying expressions from the face of the earth.

So here's my advice: The next time you hear someone say "love the sinner, hate the sin," counter with "love the sin, hate the sinner." If nothing else, it will provoke some interesting discussion. But if you do succeed in converting people to your way of thinking (and speaking), you can celebrate your newfound friendship over drinks and cigarettes. Or some other sinful activity.

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