“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” ~Romans 12:9-10
Sincere love is difficult. Devotion based on brotherly love isn’t easy. It demands that we detest what is evil in our friend’s lifestyle or attitudes. We “love the sinner but hate the sin.” Our love for the person committing the wrong is real, not pretended in any way; but in sincere love we must abhor the evil that can only cause him or her harm.
God’s love is like that.
God loves us so much that he accepts us just as we are; but he loves us too much to let us stay that way.
God certainly loves us without any phoniness and with total acceptance, but he cannot stand anything in us that is contrary to his will. Our Father is continuously working to purge the evil from us and transform us by the renewing of our minds into the image of his great Son.
And we see and relate to our Christian brothers and sisters the same way. We would never watch our brother drink a cup of deadly poison while we sit in the shade and sip iced tea. We would leap across the table and knock the cup out of his hands to save him. Because we love him. We would not allow a friend to step into the path of an on-coming bus while we skipped safely along the sidewalk. We would push or drag her out of harm’s way. Because we really care about her. Even though our brother might not understand at the time or our friend might think we were meddling. Sincere love — loving devotion — means sincerely caring and acting for their eternal interests.
It means making the phone call. It means doing the lunch. It means having the talk you’ve been meaning to have for months. Or years. It won’t be easy. But it’s a vital part of living together in Christ’s community.