Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 21, 2011

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Romans 12:9-10

You have heard about "love/hate" relationships. Maybe you have had some. So you know there really is a fine line between love and hate. They are equally strong passions. Love has tremendous power for good while hatred can cause great harm.

Both love and hatred have a place in the heart of a Christian. In some situations you must hate one thing in order to love another. For instance, if you love the Chicago Bears (as I do) you MUST hate the Green Bay Packers. That's just the way it is! Always has been that way and always will be.

Okay, maybe I can find a better example.

In verses nine and ten, you are told that in order to love others with a godly love, you must hate evil. That would be the evil that tries to intrude into your heart as well and the evil that would attack or invade others. The word used here is a strong word. It indicates that you must be disgusted by evil and find it loathsome.

Do you?

If you saw an imminent physical threat to your loved one you would immediate cry out ro warm them or run to protect them. That is because true love protects. So, how then can you truly love someone and ignore a greater threat - the threat of evil to their immortal soul?

What would you think of a lifeguard at the beach who sees someone struggling in the waves and while fully aware of the threat, chooses to ignore it, preferring to work on his tan. That would anger you! And it should! You would conclude that lifeguard does not care about people nor takes his job seriously.

But in the same way, when you see evil or destructive habits or behavior in a loved one and you tolerate it you are not doing your duty as a Christian.

One measure of how much you love a brother or a sister is how much evil you are willing to tolerate in their lives. Or, another indication would be how much evil you are willing to condone or even participate in with them. The degree to which you ignore or tolerate evil is an indication of how little you love. Perhaps you have remained silent not wanting to offend or force a confrontation. Maybe you have convinced yourself that is the loving thing to do. Romans 12:9-10 challenges that notion.

Loving God and loving others demands a hatred of evil.