I really love this chapter. There are so many good verses. The entire chapter, Paul is talking to the Romans about living in community. He stresses living humble lives, not conforming to the expectations of the world around them, not letting that world define who they are.
He ends the chapter encouraging the Romans to live a life of love, especially verses 9 to 21. I’m going to spread out some of these verses for the next couple of weeks because I just want to be totally immersed in this reading. So, first let’s look at 9 and 10.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.Romans 12:9-10
In this first verse, the word love used in the Greek is Agape – that unconditional godly love. This is a love that flows from God through us to others. Paul is challenging the Romans to love in a way that builds trust. Be aware and vigilant of the things that are hurting other people. Denounce those activities and look for ways to be encouraging and good. It is an active, relentless exhibit of kindness and sacrifice, not dependent on our own strength or ability to love, but that which is given freely to us by God.
The first part of verse 10 uses a different kind of love – Philostorgoi which is Greek for brotherly, familial love. It’s a continuation of that trust being built. The second part of verse 10 is written to be an act of humble leadership, setting an example to others on how to love. To see others as priceless, worth more than money, even worth more than themselves.
We live in unknown times where trust is broken a lot. We trust leaders to make sound decisions. We trust medical providers to give clear diagnoses. We trust community to care and be dependable.
But we also live in a broken world, which ends up breaking trust. Which is why I feel like these verses are so important right now. Right now, as Christians, we need to be exhibiting a sincere and consistent love. We need to lead in a humble way to show how God loves to other people. And the only way we can do that is by dying to self and turning to God.
Because ultimately, love is meant to be a step out in faith, trusting that God will equip us in the unknown. Above everything else, that is a truth I can trust.