Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart. Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good. If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.
Food For Thought:
Read these verses just one more time. Paul is outlining examples of practices of genuine love. Individuals and communities can put into action these practices. They are ways to live out our new life in Christ. When we live this agape―complete unconditional love of Christ― it is not a fake, pretending or shallow love. It is deep and real. Many of us have found ways to fake it. We know how to be polite and appear interested. We know to ask, “How are you?”, but God calls us to more than good manners. God calls us to genuine love. God calls us to sincere and deep concentration and effort in our encounters with others. Who are the people that could use your attention today? Let the unconditional love of God direct your words and actions. Come back to these verses again today if you need a reminder!
God of love, guide my words today. Fill my mouth with kindness and gentleness. Guide my actions today. Mold my actions with peace and patience. Slow me down today, God. Give me the presence to pay attention to people and their needs so that I can be a sign of your light and love to someone today. Amen.