Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” This verse teaches us that our love should be sincere and without hypocrisy. Here are some key things to understand about letting our love be genuine:
1. Love others genuinely and sincerely
Genuine love means loving others from the heart, not just putting on an outward show. We should not pretend to love people or just say the right words. True love motivates us to care for others sincerely, no matter who they are. It means loving our enemies and those difficult to love (Matthew 5:44).
Sincere love also refuses to be fake or hide emotions. We are honest about our feelings, not bottling up anger or resentment. At the same time, genuine love does not flare up in temper but is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). It seeks the other’s highest good, not self-interest.
2. Our love should be without hypocrisy
“Hypocrisy” in Greek means literally “an actor” or “a stage player.” A hypocrite is someone claiming or pretending to have beliefs, virtues, feelings, qualities, etc. that they don’t actually possess. They are merely “playing a role” without inward reality.
Therefore, to let our love be without hypocrisy means that it should be free from pretense, insincerity, and deception. Our actions, words, and feelings of care should genuinely align with each other. We should not merely pretend to act lovingly when we harbor unloving attitudes in our hearts (Matthew 23:25-28).
3. Abhor evil and cling to what is good
An outflow of sincere love is that we will hate evil and hold fast to what is good. Since we care about others, we despise anything that could harm people. We want to see what is morally excellent, right, true and just prevail.
Clinging to what is good means orienting our entire life around virtue, righteousness, and godliness. We pursue these things in our thoughts, words, actions, relationships, work, entertainment, etc. Sincere love makes us tenacious for goodness in every part of life.
4. We must rely on God’s love to truly love
The Bible is clear that none of us can generate this kind of perfect, genuine love on our own. Our hearts are too prone to hypocrisy and evil (Jeremiah 17:9). We need God to change our hearts and empower us by His Spirit to love sincerely (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
The greatest example of genuine love is Jesus Christ. He loved us so sincerely that He sacrificed His life to save us (Romans 5:8). When we trust in Christ, He pours His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). As we walk closely with God, the Spirit transforms us to be less hypocritical and to love others as Christ loved us.
5. Genuine love requires effort and intentionality
Loving without hypocrisy does not happen automatically. Our natural tendencies toward selfishness, insincerity, and apathy require intentional resistance. We must vigilantly fight against unloving, hypocritical attitudes lurking in our hearts. Sincere love requires effort to maintain over time.
We grow genuine love through practices like reading God’s Word, prayer, fellowship, and serving others. These build our sincerity, compassion, and moral hatred of evil. They align our thoughts, words, and actions to reflect Christ-like love. We must repeatedly deny hypocrisy and embrace openness until it becomes our reflex.
6. Love others based on their needs, not partiality
Our love should be directed based on people’s needs, not our personal preferences. We are hypocritical when we fawn over influential people but ignore the poor and downtrodden (James 2:1-9). When we encounter someone in need, we must treat them with sincere care, not favoritism.
Impartial love requires seeing beyond surface-level factors to value everyone as God’s image-bearers. It means standing up for those without status or power in society. Truly sincere love reflects God’s unconditional care for all people, regardless of merit.
7. Check your motives in all relationships
We need to frequently examine our motives in all relationships to avoid lurking hypocrisy. Our hearts can deceive us into pretending to love while pursuing selfish gain. Do we secretly harbor bitterness toward someone we act kind toward? Are we helping others mainly to boost our reputation?
Asking hard questions helps reveal gaping differences between our outward acts and inward beliefs. We may discover we’ve been behaving lovingly from impure motives like pride or insecurity. But confronting our hypocrisy is the only way for love to become genuine. Periodic motive checks help us stay sincere.
8. Be loving in actions, not just words
It’s easy to claim we love others without backing it up in deeds. But words without accompanying action are hollow (James 2:15-17, 1 John 3:18). Truly sincere love requires expressing care through practical help, comfort, generosity, and advocacy.
We should look for specific, tangible ways to bless others in routine life. Small acts of service, encouragement, and sacrifice make love concrete. Greeting strangers, giving generously, and speaking words of affirmation demonstrate sincere care for people around us. Loving actions, not just speech, prove genuine love.
9. Admit when you are wrong or fail to love
None of us perfectly loves others with complete sincerity at all times. We will at times act or speak unlovingly to others. But genuine love humbly confesses when it fails to walk in love. It does not pretend we never sin against others.
Taking ownership for relational wrongs provides space for love to flourish again. Sincere apologies and asking forgiveness reconcile bonds we damaged through hypocrisy. And admitting our flaws allows God’s love to further renew our hearts to love without pretense.
10. Remember you are loved sincerely by God
We will only grasp sincere love for others when we first receive it from God. Despite our hypocrisy, He loves us with complete, perfect sincerity. Even when we were His enemies, He gave His Son to rescue us (Romans 5:6-10).
God’s unconditional love frees us from pretending to be righteous. We can admit our flaws and be transparent about our failings. His sincere embrace assures us we are loved simply because of Christ. Resting in God’s genuine love is the foundation for us to love others sincerely.
Letting our love be without hypocrisy requires diligence and God’s help. But when our care for others comes from a sincere heart that overflows with Christ’s love, it is a beautiful witness that draws people to the Savior. May God make our love pure and faultless so we can walk in sincerity until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:9-11).