On Monday, I read this (via this), from an Anglican pastor in Baghdad:
Throughout my life I have listened to countless sermons, telling us we do not have to like our enemies -— we just have to love them. Love is reduced to not pursuing the negative of hate.
To this attitude I say nonsense! Love is real. It is difficult, it is costly and it changes lives because it enables people to see Jesus. In our context, it is not some liberal concept of evangelism without risks—even loving these people is taking great risks.
On Tuesday, I learned that Gandhi originated the expression, "Hate the sin, love the sinner."
I could easily hand out pamphlets or design a website that said "Women who get abortions are sinners." And I would be right. But all the explanations and FAQs about how, see, in Catholic theology we are all sinners and Jesus came to forgive sinners blah blah blah mean diddly because every pro-choice woman who lays eyes on that site will have her heart hardened even more.
The maxim, "Hate the sin, love the sinner," is bunk.
Not because we shouldn't hate sin. Not because we shouldn't love sinners.
Because we can't do both at the same time.
"Hate the sin, love the sinner," -- like "We do not have to like our enemies, we just have to love them" -- isn't a moral precept. It's a counsel of lesser evil. It's what we tell people (including ourselves) to get them to stop hating, but it won't get them to start loving.
You can't yoke hate and love and expect to plow a straight furrow. The intellect and will of the vast majority of humans are not purified enough to do that. God can pull it off. I'd trust the angels with it, too.
Whatever remains of hatred in human hearts, though -- even hatred of sin -- is poison.