Keeping it Real

Romans 12:9 NET - Love must be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.

Acting in a loving manner can help you to actually feel sincere love for another.  That’s different than faking love.  It’s possible to love someone you do not even like.  Jesus commanded us to love our enemies!  But in order for us to do so, there must be an awareness that love is an act of the will.  It may (or may not) be accompanied by strong emotion, but it will always act to benefit the one being loved.  Fake love pays lip service and shallow compliments, while Biblical love will act to benefit and bless others.  The problem is that we think love is hypocritical simply if we don’t feel like loving someone, when it is hypocritical when we claim to love another without willingly blessing the other person(s).  Do love, even if you don’t feel love.  Likewise, how can we love God without hypocrisy?  God rebuked ancient Israel because they “draw near to Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me!”  A key how to love God without hypocrisy is found in the rest of Romans 12:9:  hate what is evil, cling to what is good.  God observes those who talk or sing of Him yet cling to what is evil - or in some cases, hate that which is good.  Love does no harm to a neighbor.  You can love sincerely by simply refusing to harm others with your words, attitudes, or actions (including refusing to do right).  Likewise you can sincerely love God by refusing to cling to what is evil (even if you are tempted to want to do it).  

Outside of your family and friend relationships (which are the easiest, or at least the most unavoidable, people to love), how can you intentionally love the following types of people with sincerity, in a way that truly benefits them: (1) Someone in your church who’s outside your preferred social sphere?  (2) An unchurched person who does not know God in a real and sufficient relationship?  (3)  An enemy, or at least someone who is a source of genuine grief to you?  What names come to mind for each type?  Begin by praying specifically for those names, then be intentional with a plan to love (and bless) them without hypocrisy.  That’s keeping it real.

1 Peter 1:22-2:1 NET - You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1:24 For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, 1:25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you. 2:1 So get rid of all evil and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.