Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Loving When It's Difficult

We can’t just say we love others. It must be genuine.

It’s interesting to read the second sentence in Romans 12:9 while thinking in light of the first sentence.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” I used to think of the second part of the verse as hating apparent evil, but I had never thought of it in light of the fact of the previous sentence about genuine love. I’d like to consider how we can hate evil and hold fast to what is good in light of loving genuinely.

Abhor What is Evil
  • Avoid speaking or listening to gossip. “Proverbs says that if you're wise, you will avoid gossips. And you will do what you can to shut it down--graciously, kindly, lovingly. But you will not be a part of destroying the Body of Christ for which He gave His life.”  Nancy DeMoss (emphasis mine)
  • Avoid slander. (Col. 3:8) "The spiritually proud person shows it in his finding fault with other saints... [he is] quick to discern and take notice of their deficiencies."  Jonathan Edwards
  • Turn away from anger. (Eph. 4:31, Col. 3:8, James 1:19-20) “By identifying biblically the kind of sin that is associated with your anger, you can correct your anger not simply externally (i.e., temper tantrums, sarcasm, vengeance, etc.), but also internally (idolatry: love of pleasure, love of money, love of praise, etc.) in your heart where the anger resides.” Lou Priolo
  • Guard against bitterness. (Heb. 12:15, Eph. 4:31) “Most of our bitterness and anger towards others is rooted in an inability to be profoundly amazed at Christ's love for us in our sin.” John Piper
  • Avoid making rash judgments about others. “Very often judgment is passed against others in such a manner that shows the individual is well pleased in passing it. He is so forward in judging evil, and judges on such slight evidence, and carries his judgment to such extremes, as shows that his inclination is in it, and that he loves to think the worst about others.” Jonathan Edwards 

If we are going to hate evil, we must be careful to avoid participating in the evil that would prevent us from loving others.


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