Romans 12:9, “9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good” (NLT).
Wow! Paul packs three great commands into this one verse as he makes a profound statement. First, he tells us, Don’t be a hypocrite with other people. In other words, don’t pat somebody on the back and and pretend to love, like, or approve of them and then go away from them and talk poorly about them. I’ve known some people in my lifetime that would smile at you and act like they were your best friend. Then, after you were gone it would be as if they were stabbing a knife into your back when you couldn’t see them. That’s exactly what Paul is saying not to do. He is calling us to REALLY love other people. You know real love is kind, and always works to help someone else be better off. For my brother in Christ, my love should be to help him grow in his walk with Jesus. For the lost person in my life, I ought to love them so much that I truly and honestly desire to help them come to know Christ personally. To do that is to “really love them”. ( Romans 12:9a).
Next, we are told to Hate stuff that is wrong! The Bible tells us that the law of God is written on the heart of every man. So, we know that we know what is really right, and what is really wrong in this world. Sometimes I think we like to pretend like we are not really sure so we can feel better about getting away with things we shouldn’t get away with, BUT we really know. Paul is telling us here to hate the things that are wrong. We should hate all sin because all sin is destructive and hurts. We tend to think of the so-called big sins: adultery, stealing, drug abuse, getting drunk on alcohol, and pornography. Have you considered some of the other more subtle sins that we should hate too? (i.e. gossip, bitterness, fear, not looking out for other peoples best interest – even lost people, not witnessing, vulgar music, R-rated movies, un-forgiveness. ). These are just a few. We are called to hate that which is wrong. Notice, we are to hate what’s wrong, but not those doing the wrong.
Third, Paul says we should Hold on to tightly to the things that are good. Wow! I love this. Sometimes I feel if I could just master the first two commands I would automatically be doing this third command. We are to hold tight to the things we know we should be doing,. What are those things? Well, some of them are: Growing daily with Christ, learning to love His word even more, having the realization that God died for you but He also died for that person you don’t really like, working on your own problems rather than dwelling on other people’s, learning to forgive, learning to really love, cutting people some slack. Yes, all these things and many more. Doing these things, and having God develop them in your life does mean that we approve or celebrate sin. It means we are learning more about the grace of God in our lives and seeing that grace in the lives of others as well.
Really loving people, hating what’s wrong, and clinging to what is right will bless any Christian’s life. These are three things that please God, and we should be in the mode of practicing and living these principles out in our journey through this life. For when we are living like this we are picturing to others around us the very nature of God Himself. This isn’t always easy to do, but we, at the very least, should be pursuing the practice of this lifestyle.