Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Don't just pretend...

I chose this passage for Scripture memory this time out of conviction about the depth and quality of the love I have for others. Then I read what my study Bible had to say about this passage and was even more convicted:

"Most us us have learned how to be courteous to others -- how to speak kindly avoid hurting feelings and appear to to take an interest in them. We may even be skilled in pretending to show compassion when we hear of others' needs, or to become indignant when we learn of injustice. But God calls us to real and genuine love that goes far beyond being hypocritical and polite. Genuine love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands our time, money and personal involvement...put others first!" 
(Chronological Life Application Study Bible - emphasis mine)

It reminds me of the cop-out we like to use so often...saying we "love" someone, we just don't "like" them. I don't think that rationalization holds up. Scripture isn't really allowing that. Genuine, sincere, real affection is what we're called to. Does that come naturally all the time? Not to me, it doesn't. Thank goodness it's not something I'm supposed to manufacture somehow. 

It's a gift. From God. Grace. I just have to yield to its flow.

There's another translation of the second verse that says "outdo one another in showing honor." (ESV) I love that. In this competitive, comparison-driven culture, how's that for a shift? How about competing to see who can be the most selfless? Hmmm. 

Lord, give me eyes to see people the way you do. 
And a heart to love them...really love them.

"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 NLT