Romans 12 begins one of the most practical sections of Scripture, full of advice and instruction on how Christians can live their lives in this world.
And right near the beginning of this section of Scripture, Paul includes the instruction to love. This Scripture on Love is Romans 12:9.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Few people probably think that their love is hypocritical, but from what Paul writes here in Romans 12:9, it appears that hypocritical love is possible. A hypocrite is someone who says one thing, but does another.
And so hypocritical love would be when we say we love someone, but we really don’t, or at least, we love them in the wrong way, or in a way that is not really loving.
In the context of Romans 12:9, it appears that there are two parallel instructions about how to keep from having hypocritical love.
Sometimes when we love others, we think we have to love everything they say and do. This is not exactly true. We must not love evil. Just as we abhor the evil in ourselves, we must abhor the evil in others. We must love them so much that we want to free them from the sin that has them in bondage.
Hypocritical love overlooks the evil in others, which ends up damaging them rather than helping.
Cling to Good
The opposite of abhoring evil is clinging to the good. We must focus on the good things in people’s lives, and all the wonderful things they say and do. We must point these things out to them, praising them, encouraging them, and seeking to build up the good things in their lives. If we fail in this, we do not really love the other person, but our love is only empty words.