Let Love Be Genuine

by Bryan Simmons on February 09, 2024

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil; hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo
one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal; be ardent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in
affliction; persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; pursue hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who
weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be arrogant, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser
than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible,
so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath
of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” Instead, “if your enemies are hungry, feed
them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink, for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
- Romans 12:9-21

Dear Beloved in Christ,

If you're like me, you see the quotation at the top of the page and tend to skip it to read the "real" article. Well, this time, I encourage you to go back up and read it. Really read it, because what Paul has to say in Romans 12 is so crucial to the Christian way of life. You know it's true because it is virtually impossible to put into practice.

Like most things in the Christian life, how to be Christ to others flies in the face of the way this world operates. We want to build that multi-corded whip and gleefully chase the evil moneychangers around the temple square, beating them silly for all the pain and oppression they wreak on this fallen world. We tend not, however, to look inward at the moneychanger in ourselves, and we certainly don’t want to go to that cross and die on their behalf.

Paul spells it out fairly plainly. Let love be genuine and hate evil. That part, at least, seems easy enough. The tricky thing is how we go about hating evil. Unfortunately for the Christian, we can’t go around beating evil senseless until there is only good. It has this funny way of creating more evil, particularly within ourselves. But the lure of good triumphing over evil with decisive victory, by scoring victory through evil’s defeat, is so alluring. How can we not take up our arms and wage war against it for the sake of good?

In America, this is a presidential election year. Our country is at its most divisive, if not ever, at least in recent history. Over 84% of Americans polled feel that political discourse is more disrespectful now and over 61% say that political conversations with people they disagree with are “stressful and frustrating.”1 We all
know it. We are entering a season of vitriol. What is the Christian to do? Feed your enemies. Give them something to drink. Live peaceably with all. Overcome evil with good. This cannot be outsourced to a political power. It starts with you, and me, and all who confess Jesus as Lord, to love as Jesus loves. The whip is temporal. The Cross is forever.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Bryan Simmons


1Pew Research Center. (2023, September 19).
“Americans’ feelings about politics, polarization and the
tone of political discourse.”

Previous Page