True Love

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Romans 12: 9

This clarion call for action not only teaches us what love is, but what it isn’t also, a distinction some seem difficult to understand. There is a great chasm between true love and its false image.

Our society is comprised of many mask wearers. Such leads to deception and confusion. The life-style of many is a charade involving play-actors.

Our genuine love is to be without “dissimulation,” hypocrisy. Synonyms help understanding the meaning: deceit or deception.     

It means don’t pretend to be what you are not or to say what you don’t really mean. Some speech is like the iridescent scum on the surface of water veiling the black depths of a pool of hatred.       

The love advocated is “agape” love, selfless and sincere, always desiring the best for others. Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward people generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always have a natural inclination, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered, people we love. Love seeks the welfare of all.

Now what love is not. It is defined by the last part of the text: “Abhor that which is evil.” You do so by loving the good so as not to deny it. Abhor is an interesting word translating “dbelusso” which is a strong word, literally meaning to turn away from that which stinks, is foul, to detest. That calls for a strong response to hypocrisy. 

If you genuinely love the good the opposite, evil, is automatically abhorred. At times this calls for loving the person while abhorring what they are and/or what they advocate. Such energy of moral recoil from evil is perfectly consistent with honest love, for it is things, not people, that we are to abhor; and it is needful as the completion and guardian of love itself.

Proverbs 6:16–19 lists seven things the Lord hates: pride, lying, murder, evil plots, those who love evil, false witnesses, and troublemakers.” Notice that this passage does not include just things that God hates; it includes people as well. A sower of seeds of discord, not just the sowing, but the sower. This list is not all inclusive, Scripture notes additional things. Almost every other partial list of things God dislikes begins with pride.

In summary God notes a lifestyle He dislikes: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5: 20)

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”