Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Romans 12:9
My husband was being downright mean. Plain and simple. He was deliberately trying to get me to divorce him by treating me poorly. True story.
What would be the reasonable response as a wife?
In our worldly, sinful nature, our response tends to be defensiveness, protecting ourselves from the pain. I mean, that makes sense, right?
Another response is to serve it back to him. Oh yea….you think I am a (fill in the blank!) Well, YOU are a (FILL IN THE BLANK!!!!!!!)
And even worse, we may just retreat, remove ourselves physically or emotionally. You’ve heard of the ol’ fight or flight thing. Well, it’s real.
So, how did I respond to my husband’s treatment??
First, let me tell you that his treatment was not abusive. It was rude and mean-spirited and selfish, but it was not abusive. Had it been, the correct response would have been to remove myself from an unsafe situation and seek professional help.
Second, my OLD way of responding including all of the above I listed: Defensiveness, Serving it back to him HARD, or retreating with a good, old-fashioned silent treatment.
One of our former pastors favorite two words in the Bible. But God. (not recommended for children’s sermons…just sayin’)
Once God was back at the center of my existence–after a long rebellion–none of those old responses felt right. What response did feel right?
Love. Sincere love.
Sincere love is “without hypocrisy.” It isn’t fake. It isn’t pretend. It is true. And most importantly, it is NOT something YOU can conjure up on your own.
Sincere love comes from GOD.
That same husband who was treating me so poorly before knowing God, NOW–with God as His guide–shares this profound statement:
I learned that the more I love God, the more I am capable of loving my wife.
-Steve Goldberg (Side By Side Live Storytelling Experience)
In Romans 12:9, it says “Love must be sincere.” And it goes on to say, “Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.”
What is good? GOD.
Cling to Him and we have the ability to love sincerely. The closer we are to Him, the easier it is to love people from a true and right place in our heart.
In our Side By Side presentation, I share a story of how I was able to give genuine (sincere), unconditional love to Steve when he was doing the exact opposite.
For months, I would wake up and pray to God to give me a clean heart–because love doesn’t come from a resentful heart—I would pray for God to give me a clean (sincere) heart, so that I could….love Steve unconditionally.
-Lisa Goldberg (Side By Side Live Storytelling Experience)
Sincere love comes from God.
He is the good we need to cling to.
What is evil? SIN.
Our own selfish desires and human responses to hurt and pain are part of our sinful nature. Sinful nature is part of the evil we need to hate.
God is asking us to turn away from our sinful human nature and cling to God’s perfect loving nature. Through HIM, we love sincerely.
Is there someone in your life that you find difficult to love?
Are you trying to be a more loving person in your own strength?
Are you exhausted from the “fake love” mask you wear everyday, trying to be a good person?
If any of these ring true, consider taking that to the Lord. Ask Him to give you sincere love. Take time every day to read a couple verses in the Bible about God’s unconditional love for us. Consider reading Love As A Way of Life by Gary Chapman, our book of the month!
Fill your days with God’s love…and you will be loving sincerely in no time!