Let Love Be Without Hypocrisy

by Jacob Hudgins

Man holding heart in handsLet love be without hypocrisy”(Rom 12:9)

The Bible command to love is so common that we often pass quickly by it with little comment or thought. Yet here we have a little statement that packs a big punch, probing into the heart of our feelings toward others and warning us of a dangerous tendency. How can love be hypocritical?

First, when we say we love and don’t act like it. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”(1 John 3:17). When we test our hearts for love, it is often a test for a feeling. John’s test is more concrete—and more stringent. Read his statement again. Isn’t his question just? When we resent impositions on our time, when we can’t seem to find money to help but only to play, when spiritual needs go ignored, isn’t there hypocrisy in our love? “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth”(1 John 3:18).

Our love is hypocritical when we say we love and don’t feel it. This is not a “warm fuzzies” statement—it simply means love should be unfeigned. “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith”(1 Tim 1:5). How can we say we love someone when we really feel bitter toward them, or angry, or jealous? The answer, though, is not to give in to those emotions, but to replace them with sincere love. If anything, “let love be without hypocrisy” is a command to make love push out lesser emotions.

There is hypocrisy in love when we say we love and do harm. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law”(Rom 13:8). To explain how love fulfills the law, Paul lists the commandments that do with harming others—adultery, murder, stealing, covetousness. “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is a fulfillment of the law”(Rom 13:10). Sometimes our nice words go out the window when our status or family is threatened, and we will do whatever it takes to defend our turf—even actively doing harm. When Christian relationships deteriorate into “every man for himself”, love has been tainted by hypocrisy.

Examine your heart. Is your love genuine and sincere? “Let love be without hypocrisy”!

Last modification: Wed 15 Nov 2017