Love must be free of hypocrisy.
Romans 12 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. 6 However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; 7 if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; 8 or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
As Christians, we are often called hypocrites because we don’t embrace the choices that some people make; because we don’t conform to the thinking of the culture. We are called unloving, intolerant and not inclusive. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. Our ability to love and our capacity to love is based on our response to God’s love for us. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. Our ability and capacity to love is based on our response to the cross, where Jesus suffered and died to redeem us from sin. In today’s text it says: Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. We would be hypocrites if we tolerate, embrace and condone the very things that Jesus died to redeem us from. Far from embracing or tolerating evil and unrighteousness, we should detest it. In Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus says: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about sin. He came to change our minds, to change us. Even relaxing God’s commandments to suit the whims of our culture is hypocrisy. In John 5:14 Jesus told the man whom He had healed at the pool of Bethesda: “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” In John 8:11, when Jesus interceded on behalf of the woman caught in adultery, He said: “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on do not sin any longer.” Jesus came that we would be free from sin, not free to continue in sin.
John 3:16-21 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.” In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Far from embracing or tolerating darkness, we should detest and dispel darkness with the light of Christ.
In Psalm 23:5, the psalmist says: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. In today’s text, after saying love should be without hypocrisy, it says: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Apparently, when God prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies, we are to share it with them. When our cup is overflowing, we are to give them a drink. The burning coals that we heap on their heads are not for their destruction or demise. Rather, they are like the coals in Isaiah 6:6-7: Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your guilt is taken away and atonement is made for your sin.” They are coals of cleansing to overcome evil with good.
In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” In Matthew 28:18-20 He commands and commissions us saying: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Our only response can be, yes Lord. Amen.