Pastor Arnold treats us to a clean dissection of the meaning of love that is without facade or mask.
Every day for 20 years, Antonio wrote a love poem to his wife. At a divorce hearing, though, he revealed that he didn't compose these verses to celebrate the joys of marriage, but to pacify his domineering wife. The judge granted the divorce, and declared that the marriage had nothing more to it than a "look of love."
In Romans 12:9, we are exhorted, "Let love be without hypocrisy." That is, do not try to counterfeit this love by seeming to love a Christian brother, and yet not be willing to put that love into action. The same word is used in 2 Corinthians 6:6 and 1 Peter 1:22, where it is translated "unfeigned" or "sincere." The love that wears a mask and merely shows on the face is only external. That is feigned love. Ours should be unfeigned.
Hebrews 13:1 states, "Let brotherly love continue." The phrase brotherly love is not quite adequate because the termination -ly means "like," and the reference is not to "brotherly love," but to actual "brother-love." We are not to love as though we were brethren, but because we ARE brethren!
Accurately it has been stated, "Where love is thick, faults are thin." Relationships among people often undergo a slow breakdown. Long-hidden resentment finally comes to the surface as pretenses drop away. Whether in marriage or in our relationships with fellow believers, resentment and separation are sure to surface if love is insincere.
Robert McCheyne said, "If you love an absent person, you love their picture. Here is a sailor's wife. Every day she takes out his picture and looks at it. It has imperfections, but it is like him. Now believers are the picture of Christ in this world. The spirit of Christ dwells in them. They are full of imperfections, still they are copies – and if you truly love Christ, then we will love the children of God."
A policeman stopped a motorist for running a red light. As the officer approached, the driver broke into a wide grin and pointed to the patrolman's badge. It was a tin one reading, "Space Police." The policeman's four-year-old son had swapped with daddy! The officer displayed a symbol of authority, but it was worthless. Jesus demanded that His followers wear a badge to identify themselves to an unbelieving world. He said, "By this will men know that you are my disciples, if you have love," John 13:35.
"Let love be without hypocrisy!"
Dave Arnold, Pastor
Gulf Coast Worship Center
New Port Richey, Florida, 34654