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If Christians are to be like Jesus to the world, when should we ignore and/or forgive sin we see and when should we condemn it? God will forgive us infinitely many times, and we are to be like Jesus to the world — yet Jesus viciously condemned sin at least twice that I can remember (the Pharisees and clearing the temple).

Clearly hatred cannot change the hearts of the world, but when God "will not let sin go unpunished" (Josh McDowell, Answers) I feel guilty if I ignore it.

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This is a great question, but I'm not sure it has "an answer" Normally, we deal with questions that have non-cirumstantial answers. Put another way, if it requires pastoral discernment (which this does), it's not really answerable. As such, I'm voting to close, not because its not a great question, but because it is not a great question for this site –  Affable Geek May 28 '13 at 18:17
This might be something to discuss in chat, but it's really not constructive per site guidelines. Please take a moment to check the FAQ and meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/1379/… this falls under the "Pastoral advice" (advice you should ask your pastor/Priest) category. –  David Stratton May 29 '13 at 2:25
Narnian's answer below is an answer as far as I'm concerned. –  Lee Sleek May 29 '13 at 4:00
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closed as not constructive by Affable Geek, Andrew, David Stratton, Ryan Frame, Jayarathina Madharasan May 29 '13 at 5:27

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Bible clearly states that fearing God and hating evil are inseparable.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. Proverbs 8:13 ESV

However, Jesus responded to some sinners with great compassion and others with great rebuke. It was not the degree of sin that made the difference, but the penitence of the sinner.

In general, those who admitted their sin and their need for salvation received grace and mercy and compassion. Those who were self-righteous, however, received rebuke.

Nicodemus was a Pharisee, but Jesus dined with him, because his heart was receptive to Jesus. We know this because Nicodemus is mentioned not only in John 3, but after the crucifixion, when he, with Joseph of Arimithea, take Jesus' body to the tomb.

For us, we should indeed imitate Jesus and hate sin and condemn it in our own lives wherever we see it. We should also condemn it in others, not verbally, perhaps, but certainly in our own hearts.

For unbelievers, we should expect them to sin. Our posture towards them should be one of love that shares the gospel of Christ with them. God will deal with their sins later.

For other believers, there is church discipline that we are to exert, but that is in communion with others.

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