Romans 12:9. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
How genuine is your love? Is your loving real or is it fake? How much of your love for others is a mask you wear to look good? Do you find it difficult to love certain people? Even Christians? Especially Christians?
Paul assumes that genuine love, love without hypocrisy (without pretending), is possible for us. Why? Because every Christian has received God’s genuine agape love. God’s love is not pretend, pretentious, or hypocritical. God actually loves us. How do we know? Because he died for us.
Believing in this unconditional divine love is the great battle of the heart and mind. This IS the mind renewal of which Paul spoke: being convinced of God’s endless, eternal, unchanging, never wavering love for me. It is the source of all power in the Christian life. It generates all faith and hope. And of course, as we see here in Romans 12, it produces our own genuine love for others. Our own cross shaped love.
Do you want to know if your love is genuine? Here’s how to tell: does it abhor evil and hold fast to what is good?
When our love falls short of God’s agape love, it will begin to blur the line between good and evil. If we fear losing love, we will fail to confront the evilof our friends and family. But if we really love someone genuinely we will fight to eradicate evil from their lives. We will want what is best for them, not what will simply make them happy.
But often what is best for a person is the hardest, most painful thing. And choosing this can be very difficult and painful for the one who is trying to love. This is why we must hold fast, or glue ourselves, to the good. Strap in. Buckle up. Hold on tight. Find the good in their life and cherish it. Celebrate it.
Real love won’t let the child have the candy bar when they are throwing a fit, but it will celebrate their sharing. Real love won’t let the friend cheat off your class work, but it will study with him to help him work hard to pass. Real love won’t let the teenagers go to “that kind of party,” but it will throw a party when good decisions are made. Real love won’t live in the same house with an abusive person, but it won’t give up on that person either. It will seek reconciliation with justice.
Amos 5:15. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate.
The question that genuine love asks is, “Am I both abhoring the evil AND clinging to the good?” In every relationship there must be both for it to be genuine love. Hating their evil without clinging to their good is not agape love. Clinging to their good without hating their evil is also not agape love.
Christ cherishes your good and he hates your evil. So much so that he died to eradicate your evil and he rose to quicken your good. His good in you.
“To live is Christ” will do the same for others. It will sacrifice, even the relationship itself if necessary, in order to fight evil. And it will sacrifice its own life to cling to whatever good is there, no matter how small it may be. How is this possible? Because you have the genuine love of God in you through your union with Christ. You have his knowledge of good and evil. You have his life.
How genuine is your love? Do you hate evil AND cling to good?
You in Christ
Jesus hates your evil and clings to your good. How does this empower you today to love others?
Christ in you
What evil in others might you need to confront today? What good in others do you need to glue yourself to?
Playlist: Genuine Love.
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