Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.—Romans 12:9
I know of a YouTube clip that is hilarious. It just is. You watch it in a group and tears form on every face, as cackles bandy about the room. Yet I know a person—maybe the only one ever—who watched it and didn’t laugh. She explained that while she saw why it could be seen as funny, she didn’t find it so for the sympathy she felt toward the person whom the video centered on.
In other words, her deep, sincere love prohibited her from joining in on the mockery. And there was no condemnation in her tone or her choice; she was merely committed to the right thing while disdaining what she thought to be the wrong thing.
This was a great picture for me, and it is one that lines up well with this verse—and no, “love” does not mean we never laugh at YouTube videos. But love must be true. It must not be laden with hypocrisy, so that the person attempting hard and claiming harder to be trying to “love his neighbor as himself” cannot be bashing politicians and celebrities out of the other side of his mouth. The person who is “full of the love” cannot look on at practices that are evil with a mere shoulder shrug in the name of “love.”
A white-hot, genuine love for others will always cultivate a blazing, ferocious hatred for evil—because evil corrupts and destroys. When you claim to love someone and see them engaging in things that will destroy them, love is not being accepting and accommodating to them. Love is tackling them to the ground to keep them from the bullets flying through the air and threatening their genuine welfare.
The sincerity of our love means we cling to good things and abhor the bad ones, and we must also bear in mind that our war in the realm of love is not one against people—our hatred is not for them—but for the evil itself. And in light of this, there is no judgmental, prideful chest-thumping associated with our propensity to love or our cultivation of hate. We love our fellow person and strive to stand in the gap for their best, and we hate the sin which resides in and around us. It is a tricky paradox, but one for which it is worth our striving for continual improvement.
So how sincere would you say your love is? What things do you warmly embrace and what things to you hotly (and rightly) discard?
Sincere love is the person who hugs and means it, and likewise the person who may not laugh when everyone else does out of deep, life-changing ability to love.