(9) Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. (10) Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.Romans 12:9-10
After calling those who have been saved to right living through right thinking, Paul begins to explain what that looks like. In today’s text he talks about love and what true love looks like. True love is authentic without a hint of hypocrisy. Dissimulation can also be translated hypocrisy. True love hates evil because of what evil does to people. Love also “cleaves” or joins itself to what is good.
When our minds are not conformed to this world, but are transformed it will lead to a righteous prioritizing of relationships. It will lead to a selflessness. Yesterday I heard someone make the connection between the word kind and the word kin. When we talk of our “kin” we are talking about our family. To be kind is in a sense to treat someone like they are related to us. We treat them like we treat our kin. Paul seems to make a similar connection in verse 10 where he appeals to “brotherly love” as the flavor of our “kind affection” to one aother.
He also uses the word “honor”. The word is used in two distinct ways in the New Testament. The word is used for a fixed value, price, or sum. It is also used as it is here to speak of honor. Of course there is a connection between the two ways it is translated. When we honor someone we treat them with a certain value. Here you could say that Paul is calling us to honor people by placing a value on them in how we treat them as greater than the value we place on ourselves. We literally take the attitude that their welfare, preferences and desires are greater than and to be valued more than our own.
For that kind of love to happen, the Holy Spirit has to do a work of God in our hearts, minds, and bodies. This is not our natural inclination, nor the pattern of this world. We have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind for this reality to pervade the church.
In this text the meaning is closely tied to the application. So let us just make some summary statements:
- When our minds are transformed by the Holy Spirit love will be the fruit of that thinking.
- True love hates evil in the lives of those that are loved.
- True love clings to the good.
- To love our spiritual family by honoring them as a valued brother and sister is God’s will for our lives. We put their needs and welfare above our own.
- There should be a connection between our quiet time in prayer and Bible study and our love for those around us.
3 Questions to help us respond today:
- 1. What thinking needs to change in our life for us to rightly love those around us?
- 2. What evil in our life is being clinged to instead of abhored?
- 3. What good needs to be rightly valued in our lives?