How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin

Category: Poetry

I’m thrilled to announce that my brand new poem, “How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin” is officially live on Facebook, YouTube, and!

This poem has been on my heart for a long time as, over the past several years, I’ve watched people who claim the authority of a “Christianity” I can barely recognize use the Bible as a blunt weapon to bludgeon people into submission to their narrow understanding of holiness.

I don’t hope you “like” it, because I don’t like that I had to write it. But I hope it means something to you, and I hope it helps you feel freedom in who you are and inspires you to champion the freedom of others to be who they are.

It’s the only way this whole thing works.

The video + lyrics are below, and you can share this link with your friends!


Like the poem? You can book me to come to your church, school, conference, festival, coffee shop, or special event here.


How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin: 5 Easy Steps

By Emily Joy


1. Make sure the sinner knows how you feel about their lifestyle choices.

Silence is considered tacit approval. 

Seize every opportunity to remind them your god says they are going to hell.

Don’t be fooled into polite dinnertime conversation,

The devil is in the details.

Structure your entire relationship around opportunities to ask them to change their mind.

Ask them, “Don’t you think this is just a phase?”

Ask them, “Why do you have to find your identity in a word?”

Remind them your word says they are an abomination,

You can’t change that, it’s not your fault,

God said it, not you.


2. Pray with your vote.

Religious freedom means never having to say you’re sorry.

You can still love people and take away their rights,

Trust me, we’ve been doing it for years.

Resist all attempts to allow the sinner equal access

To the legal and social benefits you enjoy,

You don’t want them to think they deserve it,

Let’s not reward deviants and perverts.

Put signs in your yard

Letting the whole world know that you’re voting “NO”

On marriage equality,

It’s much more polite than a banner that says 



3. Ask the sinner to meet for coffee.

Tell them you’re concerned for their salvation.

You wondered if they would do a Bible study with you. 

It just so happens to be in Romans. 

Ask them if they’re a practicing homosexual.

Ask them questions you wouldn’t ask your closest friends,

If they don’t want to answer,

Tell them,

You should have thought of that before you chose to be gay.

Before you go,

Let them know that all sins are equal in the eyes of God.

Bestiality, child pornography, mass murder, voting Democrat,

It’s all the same when viewed from above.

You’re only saying this cause you love them.

When they stop meeting you for coffee,

Remind yourself that this is not your fault.

That the gospel is offensive 

And calls us to sacrifice,

And the gospel must have been a bit too pricey for the sinner.

Put them on your prayer list anyway.

There’s not a heart that God can’t change.

When you see them in the grocery store,

Say hi.

Try to ignore the bags under their eyes.

Ask them how they’ve been 

But don’t wait for an answer. 

You don’t want to know.


4. Under no circumstances should you ever attend their wedding,

Even if the sinner is your child.

Especially if the sinner is your child.

Being there would just send the message that you approve of their lifestyle.

When you RSVP, say something like

“Dear friend,

I regret to inform that I will not be able to attend

As I do not believe in celebrating sin.

Yours respectfully.”

Let everyone know why you’re not going.

But do send them a gift.

A bible. Highlight important passages in Leviticus

And put a bookmark in the story of Sodom & Gomorrah. 

If they never speak to you again,

This is not your fault, either. 

People hated Jesus too

Cause he spoke the truth,

Just like you’re doing

When you love the sinner and hate the sin.


5. If they commit suicide, 

Well, at least you know where they’re going.

At least you can tell their family at the funeral

That they got what they deserved.

When you lay your head down at night,

Quiet your demons by imagining how pleased God must be with you

And all the crowns you’ll get in heaven

For your refusal to water down the gospel.

Don’t think about them popping those pills

Or tying that noose

Or crashing that car.

Don’t think about desperate last minute phone calls,

Bodies crumpled on bathroom floors,

Children sleeping in alleyways.

We live in a sinful world.

There will always be suffering.

You can’t be held responsible for theirs,

You were just speaking the truth in love.

Close your eyes.

Say your prayers.


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2 thoughts on “How to Love the Sinner & Hate the Sin

  1. Emily Joy, thanks for this. I just watched it on Kevin Garcia’s blog site and then re-posted it from there on my Facebook. What a powerful poem! I had not then appreciated that you classified it as a poem. Your performance was so riveting. As I wrote on Kevin’s blog, I began by laughing at the sharpness of your cutting sarcasm, but by the end of the presentation I was sobbing with heart-felt pain at the pathos of it. The crying is a healing. I’ve been there, from both sides, and quite recently sat down to coffee with a pastor who proceeded to stone me mercilessly with Scripture. (I recently came out as gay after serving many years in church. My coming out has been painful and still is hard since I have ended up alienating most of my family.) I could hardly get a word in edgeways with him (the pastor) and he could not understand why I did not see his actions as loving. After several follow up emails, which did nothing but cause further stress, I had to tell him, quite rudely, to stop, and to never contact me again, ever. So far he has heeded that.

  2. Emily, thank you so much for this poem! I have a son who is gay and we are a Christian family and we know what it means to be the recipient of this kind of love (?).

    I have a private Facebook group (Serendipitydodah for Moms) for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids. There are more than 1,100 moms in the group and someone shared your poem in the group this morning and we are grateful that for you and your poem because we believe it will change some hearts. <3

    FYI: Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,100 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. For more info email

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