Today I will be talking about the depressingly under-used verses about brotherly love in Romans 12:9-10. I won't be reading the whole thing all at once, but will take it bit-by-bit, examining each part so we can get a better understanding of what it really means.
I'll start out by first reading verse 9 to get a better context of verse 10. Verse 9 commands, "Let love be genuine. Abhor to what is evil; hold fast to what is good." I'm sure that there are many of you who have memorized this by now, but have you ever thought about what it really means? "Let love be genuine" basically means to not be fake. Don't just act like you love someone, make it real. Let your love come from the heart. How do we do this? Well, we can start off by always assuming the best in everyone and only seeing the best in everyone. Some synonyms for the word "genuine" are honest, absolute, certain, and legitimate. Our love has to be real. The next part says to abhor what is evil. What does "abhor" mean? To abhor something means to loathe or to hate it. When you hate something, do you typically stay away from it? I'm going to go into that a bit.
I don't want to go off topic here, but when the Bible says to abhor what is evil, it means that we have to hate it and avoid it at all costs. How can we say that we abhor evil if we say that we are just going to have "a little drink"? "It can't hurt. One little drink won't get me drunk, right?" How can we say that we abhor evil when we go and see a movie even though, yeah, it does have a scene and a ton of cussing, but "that doesn't really bother me." One of the sayings that upsets me greatly is "that doesn't really bother me." Sin should bother us if we abhor it like we are commanded to in this verse. We also have to sometimes avoid people who are bad influences. Just because you love someone, that doesn't mean you have to spend all of your time with them. Sometimes we have to knock the dust off of our feet and move on.
The next part of this verse talks about how we should hold on to things that are good. I have moved a lot in my life so if there is something that I can find that will stick around and won't change, I want to hold on to it. I want to hold on to anything and everything that won't change, and that is exactly what we need to do with our Christianity. We live in a world of sin, so when we see something good, we need to grab hold of it and cherish it. That is what we need to do with our friends who will help us through life as Christians, we need to cherish the times we get to worship in the assembly, and we need to read and study our Bibles because that is the only perfect thing that we still have in this world: the Word of God. Yes we have baptism but how can we know about it unless we study God's Word? We need to hold fast God's Word and those who we love because those are the things that will get us through life.
I know this article is getting kind of long so I'll try wrapping it up, but looking in verse 10 now it starts off with "Love one another with brotherly affection." What does this mean, "brotherly affection"? This means that we don't love everyone like a husband or wife, or like the respectful love that we have for God, but a love that is kind, and gentle and compassionate. We ought to love one another in a way that there is no doubt that we are Christians by the way we treat others. This means we cannot gossip, or slander. We cannot call names, but we have to treat others as we would wish to be treated as we see in Matthew 7:12. We have to "Outdo one another in showing honor", the verse ends. We have to love everyone and treat them like we would our own brother. If we all did this, wouldn't the world be such a better place?
We have to treat everyone with love and respect, and no matter how badly someone treats us, we have to love them because they are, in fact, our brothers and sisters in Christ and need our love. Today I would like to encourage you all to think about this and study it, because it's a very important topic that deserves much time observing.