Friday, April 22, 2011

Week #15 Romans 12:9-10 "Clinging to Good"

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

These verses have several ideas and exhortations in them. But there is one particular word that stands out for me. "Hate."

Hate. Here's a word that makes headlines. When it comes to popular culture and media, "hate" is bantered about in social and political discussions across the country. (How I wish I could be inundated with more theological discussions in my social circle. How refreshing that would be!!)

"Hate speech." "Hate crimes." "Hate groups." "I hate (pick the group or attitude of your choice)."
And the list goes on and on...

For a Christian, hating what is evil can be a tricky thing. No one will argue that we Christians have a major PR problem in the United States today. We are regularly condemned for being "un-Christian" if we express any critical thought about society, politics or culture. We are told we are un-loving if we hate anything.

Yet, here Paul exhorts us to hate evil. When we try to explain that we don't hate people, just the evil that can come from some humans and their institutions, we still aren't off the hook. The name-calling continues. Christians are un-loving. Christians are hypocrites. Christians are being un-Christian. Sigh....

So, when it comes to evil, we can't win. We can't beat Satan at his own game, and we can't make the world understand us either. So what's a nice, evil-hating Christian to do?

I think the answer is contained in the second half of the phrase. "Hate what is evil; cling to what is good."

I need to cling to the good. The godly. The God in the world. My love must be sincere. I must be devoted to my fellow believers and honor them in love.

Subtle forms of evil may disguise itself as good, fun and cool. But it ultimately has no power over good. It may not seem like it, if you take a look at the world today. It looks like evil is winning.

But, the opera ain't over. No, the "fat lady" isn't going to sing, but one day the Son of Man will come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30). At that time, Jesus will set the record straight. Evil will no longer be able to masquerade as cool and enticing. Good will be cool. Good will be praised. Love will win out in the end.

I can't wait for that day. Until then, however, I must strive to cling to good, cling to God. And I must reflect His goodness in my life.

A real challenge, that is. But when I cling to God, it doesn't mean I can rise to the challenge. It means that God rises to the challenge through me. Praise God.

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