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Ann Naffziger Answers:
You won’t find this quote in the Bible, but it is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Jesus. The original quote is from St. Augustine, a famous bishop of Hippo in northern Africa and an influential Catholic theologian who died in 430 A.D.
Mohandas Gandhi borrowed the idea and further popularized it when he wrote in his 1929 autobiography to “hate the sin and not the sinner.” The moral teaching behind the variations of the quote suggests that all humans are deserving of love, regardless of their sometimes sinful behavior. In cases of grievous or heinous sin, loving the sinner while hating the sin can be supremely difficult. Yet Jesus promoted the same with his teaching to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt 5:44).