Let love be genuine. Romans 12:9
When God lays out the steps that lead to overcoming evil with good, the first thing He says is, “Let love be genuine.” And if you want to overcome evil with good, this is where you must begin!
Here is priority number one. This is what we must do when evil is all around us. This is what we can do because we are in Christ. God says, “Do this, and you will overcome evil with good.”
Another way to say this would be: Love must be sincere or authentic. There must be no pretense about it, no playacting. This is immensely attractive. We are all drawn to love. We all want to be authentic, and authentic love is where we must begin if we are to overcome evil with good.
The plain implication of the words, “Let love be genuine,” is that we may discover something that looks and sounds like love but turns out to be less than the real thing. So, what does genuine love look like? Our culture has a very clear answer to that question.
Our culture has two words to describe genuine love—acceptance and affirmation. In other words, “If you really love me, you must accept and affirm me as I am. Don’t attempt to change me in any way. Because if you do, you don’t really accept me, and you don’t really love me.”
When we hear acceptance and affirmation, the natural reaction is to say, “Well, of course! What else would love be?” And if we were all paragons of virtue, a love that accepts and affirms would be entirely appropriate. But, surely, we are a long way from that.
Where do you find the world’s love attractive? Unattractive?