Sincere Love

Opening Prayer

Have you ever tried praying the Scriptures? As you read today’s passage, try to pray it for yourself.

Read Romans 12:9–21

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Reflect

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (9).

I once read the story of a woman whom I’ll call Jane, who just couldn’t get along with her next-door neighbor. For some reason this lady rejected all of Jane’s overtures of friendship, and was often inconsiderate and rude. Jane knew that, as a Christian, she was supposed to show love even to her enemies, so she baked a cake for her neighbor and left it on the doorstep with a simple note.

Later that day, the neighbor came round, and her attitude was transformed. She was full of gratitude for the cake and apologetic for her former behavior. All Jane felt was a deep sense of shame. Outwardly, Jane had obeyed God’s commands, but her heart’s desire had been not to love her enemy, but to make her feel guilty. Now Jane was the guilty one, and the “burning coals” she had intended to heap on her neighbor’s head were raining down on her own.

Apply

Are there any occasions when you have done the right thing but for the wrong motivation? Do you need a heart-transformation?

Closing prayer

Forgive me, God, and give me a renewed heart of true love and compassion toward others.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider