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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Mutual Love (Loving One Another Part 1)

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

“love one another with mutual affection”

(Rom 12:10a)

Love is the hallmark of a Christian. God calls all Christians to love. If we do not love, then we are not being Christian. But what does it really mean to love? Everyone talks about love, but not everyone really knows what true love is.

Today’s reading from Romans (Rom 12:5-16) gives us a lot to consider.

A basic consideration is that we are all parts of the one body of Christ. The reality is that “we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.” (Rom 12:5). Now notice what Paul says: we are parts of one another. We are not only the different parts of the one body of Christ, but we are parts of one another. We are all intimately interconnected with each other.

Second, as the one body of Christ that God intends to use for His purposes in the world, we have all been given gifts with which to serve. These gifts are different, but taken all together, provide a full resource that can truly be effective in doing God’s work. Thus, “since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them” (Rom 12:6a).

Thus, in who we are and in what we are called to do, we are one. The binding force is love.

Paul then talks about love. He gives very practical aspects of what it means to love (Rom 12:5-16). Let us look at some of these.

First, love has to do with our righteousness as a child of God. Sincere love has to do with choosing good over evil. “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good” (Rom 12:9). If one persists in wrongdoing, then one does not love.

Second, love has to do with our relationship with our brethren in community. We not only avoid doing wrong to our brethren, but we are to “anticipate one another in showing honor.” (Rom 12:10b). Further, we empathize with the situation of our brethren. After all, we are parts of one another, so that whatever happens to our brethren also happens to us. As such, we “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15).

Third, love has to do with our relationship with our so-called “enemies.” Jesus tells us to love our enemies. Practically, Paul expounds on this. We are to “bless those who persecute (us), bless and do not curse them.” (Rom 12:14). We are not to “repay anyone evil for evil” (Rom 12:17a). We “do not look for revenge” but leave it up to God to exact justice (Rom 12:19). Very difficult, but that is what love means. In fact, it goes even further. We are challenged: “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (Rom 12:20a).

Fourth, love has to do with enduring and persevering with joy. “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Rom 12:12). There will always be trials and crosses in life. We may face situations of hopelessness. We will be afflicted. In all these, we trust in Jesus, remain committed to a deep personal relationship with God, and maintain our joy in Christ whatever our circumstances in life.

Finally, love has to do with serving God who is love and serving others by becoming instruments of God’s love for the world. “Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Rom 12:11). We must be zealous in proclaiming the good news of salvation in Jesus. We must be keen to serve God by serving others.

Love is defined by different people in different ways, and thus is often misunderstood. Love is a very difficult posture, even for a Christian who has already experienced the love of God. Love is challenging, as it involves all that we are, reaching deep down into our innermost being. Love touches all of our relationships--with God, with Christian brethren, and with everyone else.

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