One of the greatest challenges in life is to keep things in proper balance.
We must strive to balance “our compassion for others” with “our loyalty to the commandments.” We must always love the sinner, but we must never advocate sin.
We Must Always Love the Sinner
As disciples of Christ, we are committed to love one another as He loves us. The Second Great Commandment is to love our neighbor. There are no exceptions.
Everyone we meet is a child of God. Everyone we know is our brother or sister. Everyone has the potential to become like God. Therefore, we should treat everyone with kindness and respect.
We must love sinners. If we only loved non-sinners there would be no one left to love.
After all, we are all sinners, and fall short. (Rom. 3:23) Fortunately, God’s unfailing love transcends our transgressions.
Only those without sin can cast stones. Importantly, we are never is a position to judge another’s heart.
Loving our neighbor means welcoming and loving sinners at church. It means forgiving those who trespass against us. It means being Good Samaritans to those who are spiritually wounded. It means rejoicing in the returning prodigal sons and daughters. It means building bridges of understanding. rather than burning our bridges.
President Russell M. Nelson declared: “Because we feel the depth of God’s love for His children, we care deeply about every child of God, regardless of age, personal circumstances, gender, sexual orientation, or other unique challenges.” (“The Love and Laws of God,” BYU, Sep 17, 2019)
There is no room in the gospel of Christ for racism, bigotry, homophobia, intolerance, or self-righteousness.
We Must Not Condone Sin
As disciples of Christ was are also commanded to never condone sin. The Lord “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (Al. 45:16) The First Great Commandment is to love the Lord. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments and encourage others to do so. We covenanted to be His witnesses.
“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” (Ps. 97:10; Pro. 8:13; Ps. 24:7) “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” (Rom. 12:9 RSV)
Christ set the example. After saving the adulteress from being stoned, He admonished her, “Go thy way, and sin no more.”
In sum, we must accept the sinner without enabling sin. We must encourage the sinner while discouraging sin. We must love the sinner without condoning the sin.
Jeffrey R. Holland explained this balance:
“Let me go no farther before declaring unequivocally my love and that of my Brethren for those who live with this same-sex challenge and so much complexity that goes with it. Too often the world has been unkind, in many instances crushingly cruel, to these our brothers and sisters….”
“We have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy, or that orthodoxy and loyalty to principle not be interpreted as unkindness or disloyalty to people.
“As near as I can tell, Christ never once withheld His love from anyone, but He also never once said to anyone, ‘Because I love you, you are exempt from keeping my commandments….’”
“Our compassion and our love – fundamental characteristic and requirements of our Christianity – must never be interpreted as compromising the commandments.”(BYU University Conference Aug. 2021)