The genuine article


“Let love be genuine.”  Romans 12:9

I am from an older generation, so blogging is still new to me.  Still, I get that it helps to be pithy.  For those of you who don’t watch the O’Reilly Factor (shame on both of you), a pithy communication is one that is brief, yet packed with force and meaning. Technically, it means to be full of pith.  (I remember a few years ago a guy told me that I was full of pith, but then, how much weight can you give to the opinion of someone who says his name is Thteve?)

The apostle Paul was generally known for being the opposite of pithy.  His letters were often convoluted and, in the words of his contemporary, Peter, “hard to understand.” (Thank you Peter! I thought it was just me!).

But Paul could be super pithy at times.  Think about these four words in Romans 12:9: “Let love be genuine.”  That is so short and seemingly innocent, the tendency is to basically ignore it.  My first reaction is, “Duh!  What other kind of love is there?”  But that is the point, isn’t it?  The implication is that there is a brand of “love” that is artificial.

When you really think about it,  the world is filled with fake love.  Love that is for show.  Love that is for public consumption.  Love that has the external appearance of being authentic love, but is really about me.  How rare is the kind of sacrificial love that Jesus admonished us to have.  The kind that is willing to do what it does in a closet, if necessary, because it is the genuine article.

And here is the honest truth.  Most often, my love is not the genuine article.  My thoughts are usually on how something affects me and how it makes me look.  I think about what is in it for me.  And if I do good, I want others to see so that I can be honored.

Seeing this reality does not make me despair.  This is what the cross is for.  But it does make me more humble.  It also makes me more aware of the unfathomably pure love that God has expressed to us and that makes me want to grow in my own capacity for a love that is genuine.  May it be so!

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