Romans 12: 9-21 (“Love in Action”) offers a clear framework on biblical and godly love. The first two verses read, “9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Everyone is aware of the principle calling us to love our neighbors as ourselves. It can be easy to equate love in this sense as simply doing good things and being kind to people. While these are both good things, verse nine says that they are not good enough. “Love must be sincere” can be easily overlooked by a lot of people. It can be so easy to say something kind to someone but have resentment for them in your heart. Likewise, appearing to love someone to their face while talking negatively about them behind their back is the opposite of loving, and it certainly does not honor them like verse ten says to do. Another important quality of love is that it “does no harm to a neighbor,” (Romans 13:10). Saying something someone wants to hear instead of being upfront with them may cause more harm than good. It may seem loving in the moment, but it is not. Truly loving your neighbors will never harm them.
This behavior and insincerity are so widely accepted in our culture that it doesn’t even seem that problematic. People can say negative things about others without even realizing it. People can be two-faced with malice in their hearts and think it doesn’t matter. God calls us to love like he loves us: unconditionally. In this season of giving, God gave us Jesus to save us from our sins because he loves us. I urge everyone to seek sincere love, not superficial “love” this Christmas season.