Psalm 84-86 Romans 12
“Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves.” (Romans 12:9-10 NCV)
The book of Romans moves from the theological underpinnings of our faith into practical application in the twelfth chapter and the advice flows quickly. In this chapter, every bit of his call to action is predicated on Romans 1-11. Because these things are so, you should…. In these two verses we’re admonished to show our faith by showing real love to others, while hating those actions that are evil. We’re to hold on to good things and show more honor to others than we desire for ourselves.
It begins with knowing who to love, and what to hate. I think Paul’s very deliberate with his word choice and modifiers here. Hate is directed towards actions that are wrong. Love is directed towards people. Our love for people needs to be genuine. One of my favorite lines from M*A*S*H was when Hawkeye said, “Sincerity? I can fake that.” As much as I laugh, I know that many people don’t show real love. They may be sweet face to face, but when the backs are turned, the gossip begins. Paul reminded us to love each other like brothers and sisters and to show more honor to others than we want for ourselves. This is where it’s hard to be genuine and many excel in sarcasm when they’re showing honor to others. If our love is real, though, and we humble ourselves to show people honor, those actions will build all people. Hating evil’s even harder to pull off, because too many people define themselves by their actions. If we lead with love of the person and continue to proclaim the right way, God can use that to draw people back to Him. When speaking of evil actions, though, we should never define people by their actions and we need to keep loving them.
Lord, help me to love Your people genuinely. Remind me that although their actions may be evil, Your love for them is genuine, as mine should be. When my actions were evil, You loved me and drew me towards You. Let my love for others draw them to You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved