Reading from Romans 12:9-21 this morning, I stumbled upon what I would call The Love Test. For my commentary I broke the verses (from the GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION) into their various points. My comments are in italics.
1. Love must be sincere.
Wow! How often is our love based on LUST, or greed?
2. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Oh how I wish that I could hate the evil I find in my life, instead of clinging to it like it was a long-lost lover.
3. Be devoted to one another in love.
Devotion is a lost art these days. Do we love others enough to give up or set aside our own immediate pleasures for the needs of others?
4. Honor one another above yourselves.
Closely related to #3. Defer to others rather the bragging about ourselves.
5. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Does your zeal flag when it comes to daily time with God, or when you’re asked to serve some position in your church?
6. Be joyful in hope,
Not just joyful when your teams wins, all the time. Sometimes your joy can ONLY be based in hope, hope that something better will take place.
7. Patient in affliction,
Patience during good times is O.K., but nothing great. Patience during the affliction of others is a truer measure of love. A sick child, a handicapped person, discouragement in others, all can try your patience … and test your love.
8. Faithful in prayer.
Especially, faithfully praying for others.
9. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.
If you have been blessed with food, shelter, and clothing you have more then 70% of the world’s population. Share
10. Practice hospitality.
When you invite people to dinner don’t restrict your invitations to only your best friends or those that you associate with on a daily basis … try someone new.
11. Bless those who persecute you;
O-o-o-ow! That is a hard one. I suppose that the word “persecute” could be replaced with “bully.”
12. Bless and do not curse.
Wouldn’t the “air pollution” problem be minimized if people were passing out blessings instead of cursing?
13. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Be empathetic. For without empathy love is difficult.
14. Live in harmony with one another.
Take time to have cookies and milk or a doughnut and coffee with your neighbors or co-workers. How our lives would improve if there were more harmony in our homes!
15. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
Do you take the time to get acquainted with the service workers at your company. Or the gardener, or the fast-food workers where you have lunch, or …
16. Do not be conceited.
You are of no more or less value to God than the person sitting beside you on the bus, or the one standing behind you in line at the checkout counter.
17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
The Golden Rule does NOT say, “Do unto others before they do it unto you.”
18. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
19. Do everything that you can to live at peace with everyone.
Wouldn’t that be great for nations, also?
20. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Resist the urge to fight back when you are offended. It is not your place to get even on every score.
21. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Now that’s an unusual way to punish your enemies.
22. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Does the “good” that you do outweigh the “evil” that you do? If not, why not?