Hate the sin, not the sinner.

We’ve all heard the saying. We’ve all used it. Recently, we’ve been rightfully castigated for using it… it’s a fraught calculus, to hate the sin but not the sinner. But this morning, those six words found fresh purchase in my mind… as I laid in bed reviewing the events of the last several hours.

And while I hold out a sliver of hope that the Electoral College—our weapon of last resort—will be put to good use, denying the presidency to a creature so un-prepared for and ill-disposed to that high office… I can’t really wait around for that bit of intrigue to play out.

I have bridges to mend.


Which brings me back to those six words.

Those six words lever open my closed heart… give me pause enough to collect thoughts, as I look into the faces of people I know, people I love… people I go to church with or work alongside… people reading this very post—as I look into their faces (or at their user handles) and am forced to engage in the perspective-taking that leads to hope and makes room for healing.

And healing is imperative, if we’re to engage in the heavy lifting that lies ahead. And there is heavy lifting, to be sure.

Of all those I know who voted for Trump—or voted for those who will be extensions of his will—most voted for Trump for reasons that are familiar to someone like me, who campaigned for Bernie Sanders: a distrust of the political elite, a sense that we were slipping into uncharted waters, a fear that without momentous change we’d face dire consequences. They voted for Trump because they love this nation and were willing to make a bold move to save it from itself. Not a single one voted for him because they thought he was praiseworthy or of good report. To a one, they thought he was the lesser of two evils. And now that he is likely to be our next president and the commander in chief of the world’s largest and most powerful army, we must band together to staunch the flow of consequences.

And there will be consequences—large and small, near and far—repercussions for women, people of color, the disabled, our working poor, religious minorities, our NATO allies, our armed forces, the global stock market, people with pre-existing medical conditions, our children… not to mention our 401(k)s.

So here’s to pausing and asking and listening.

Here’s to healing and heavy lifting.


  1. “Not a single one voted for him because they thought he was praiseworthy or of good report. To a one, they thought he was the lesser of two evils.”

    Not all of us are as lucky. Many of my neighbors, and many people I work closely with at church, are overjoyed with a Trump presidency, and publicly criticize NeverTrump conservatives. Trump reflects their values more than any other president in my lifetime.

    It’s a lot easier to forgive those who chose Trump because they believed him to be the lesser of two evils, than to forgive those who chose Trump because they believe he’s a great choice for the job. Perhaps once I succeed with the first I’ll be able to start working on the second.

  2. D Christian Harrison says:

    But Christ calls us to forgive everyone. And chances are very good: even those benighted souls who voted affirmatively for Trump, did so with good intentions. Rare, I submit, is the Machiavellian political actor—who would sew seeds of destruction hoping to strike it big in the ensuing confusion.

  3. The Dow Jones is up 216 points. If the market can make peace with the current reality, hopefully we all can too.

  4. Yes, we must love everyone, and we must strive for peace in our communities. That is always paramount.

    But the reality is that once the initial trauma of this election passes, the work to do is even more urgent than it was before. The mostly white, Mormon readers of this site live mostly in secure, white communities. Those communities will suffer the least from the religious bigotry and racism that Trump’s campaign has encouraged. In our insulated communities it will be so easy to ignore the suffering of marginalized people while we work on making peace with our Trump-voting neighbors. Many will tell us that the election settled the question of deporting Mexicans, or turning away refugees, or discriminating against Muslims, or executing black people during traffic stops, or systematically suppressing the vote. “Don’t bother us with that,” they’ll say. “It’s time to forgive.” What will you say then?

    If you’re having trouble loving your neighbor, then get yourself right. We don’t have time to lose, and God will help us.

  5. Wow. Given the fact that the popular vote was about 50/50, every other person I see is an A$$hole one way or another.

  6. Rape survivor says:

    You are obviously a man, and not a female survivor of sexual abuse. I watched my country vote for a man who brags about sexually assaulting women. I am a rape survivor who has dealt with Mormon men and women blaming me for being raped as a teenager and even for the incest I survived as a child. I can’t imagine that I will be walking into a Mormon church building any time soon.

  7. Another variation is “Love the person, Hate the sin.”

    In our culture this mental exercise is tossed out as if it is possible to hold both concepts in mind at the same time. I would argue that doing both while thinking of the same person is a physical impossibility. The “hate the sin” part will always seep into the “love the person” part.

    I would argue that a better injunction is to love all and ignore their sins. The sins we are to hate are those we commit and not those of our neighbors. I find this to be a better interpretation of this common rubric.

    Unfortunately I am also a man so take what I have to offer with a gain of salt.

    Forgiveness should never be confused with forgetting. Neither should forgiveness be an absolute. The only suggestion I would make is to forgive just a little bit. And if that little bit is all you can offer then that is all you need do to bless your life.

  8. Mex Davis says:

    Utah you have drunk the Kool-Aid like everyone else. How can God fearing people even think this man was a viable candidate? I don’t always believe in those six words. The sinner can be deceitful. Jesus may require us to for give all but he didn’t say we had to elect them as our leaders or be followers. The greater sin may be to follow the sinner knowing full well what they are or are capable of doing. A letter came across all Mormon pulpits days before this election addressing the need to elect people of sound and similar values (paraphrased). Not sure what people thought they heard or if maybe it didn’t matter, hating the other more has driven us into the bed of the Devil. I know a little dramatic but time will only tell. We should be careful what we ask for.

  9. I get your message and meaning, though I really dislike the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin.” I don’t think there is any context for its use. Christ never said it, or anything like it. He simple said, “love your neighbor as yourself” and “as I have loved you, love one another.” Hate was never part of his vocabulary, in any context. He did not say “hate sin.” He simply said, “come, follow me” and “by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Brother Trump represents nothing I know that resembles being a disciple of Christ. But he is my brother. So while I work to spread love and do good, and try to repair the damage that he is doing and will do to humanity, I will simply love him as Christ loves him. That’s all.

  10. Clark Goble says:

    Mex the problem is that for many, many people neither candidate was acceptable. There wasn’t really a good choice. (People with some justification disparage voting for 3rd candidates as on par with not voting – although I voted for McMullin) When push came to shove Trump grossly exceeded polls mainly because people feared Clinton more than Trump.

    Now you might disagree with that, but I’m not sure it means they think Trump was a good candidate. Indeed according to exit polls Trump captured 21% of those who didn’t think he was qualified to be President. That’s all he needed.

    This was an election where I think if the public could have sent it back for a redo in the primaries they would have.

  11. did so with good intentions

    Intent matters, no doubt–even if in practice essentially impossible to divine–but when the outcome of a carefully reasoned decision is the same as a random, careless or malicious one it’s cold comfort indeed.

  12. Bob Cooper and Soren Simonson: you guys get it.

    Hating the sins of another more than one’s own is human nature. It is a quintessential feature of the natural man which Christ requests–nay, demands–of all of us.

    Would that we all spent even a tenth the time and energy on purifying ourselves that we do on condemning our fellow man. I certainly could stand to do so.

  13. Anne Chovies says:

    I was encouraged to hear today that the ACLU will be keeping a close eye on Trump. I hope that if Trump actually tries to deliver on some of the insane things he’s said that he gets challenged.

  14. The first patient through our doors this morning exclaimed she never believed Trump would win and if she had believed it, she never would’ve voted for him. (Though we live in CA, so her vote didn’t help Trump). I just wonder how many trusted the polls which showed that it was going to be a landslide for Clinton and so didn’t even bother to vote.

  15. Geoff - Aus says:

    As an outsider it appears as though those who claim to be christians or mormons, are republicans first.
    Will the mormon tabernacle chior sing at his enorgeration?

  16. Aussie Mormon says:

    As Agent K said in the movie Men in Black (the first one): “The person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it!”.

  17. Clark Goble says:

    Geoff Utah had the biggest political voting swing in the country away from Trump. While I’d certainly have wished more voted against Trump it appears when push came to shove people decided they feared Clinton more. Whether people agree with them or not many people feared both Clinton’s policies, appointments to the courts and thought her corrupt. It’s fine to disagree with those views but I think it unfortunate people assume those aren’t the reasons people opposed her. I think that had Democrats fielded a different candidate that far more would have voted for them than Clinton.

  18. “it appears when push came to shove people decided they feared Clinton more”

    I had a chance to talk to an overjoyed Trump supporter. She is LDS, a woman, has a graduate degree, worked full time while raising a family and is a minority. That is what it all boiled down to for her. She felt that Hillary’s negatives were scarier than Donald’s.

  19. nothing assumed about your food allergy says:

    She chose between the lesser of two scary negatives and she was overjoyed with the result? Seems odd.

  20. So many ironies. The man who claimed the system was rigged against him lost the popular vote, but won the election. Would he have conceded gracefully if the tables were turned?

  21. I do not see myself anytime soon accepting as president a man who admitted, even boasted, to sexual assault. I am sorry. It is totally, 100% inappropriate.

  22. Tim, once you decide you are voting for the lesser of two evils you have to get on board and HOPE that, in my case, they will restore freedom and give up control.

  23. I too have to get to work forgiving the Hillary voters. It is hard but true charity is.

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