Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
(Romans 12:9-10 ESV)
Genuine Love must “Hold fast to what is good”
Again, Paul uses strong language. The word used for “hold fast” is the same word used to describe the tight bond of a marriage relationship, or even for gluing things together. If we are to genuinely love one another, we must be welded to what is good.
Few things can tear apart a family, or a church like a prevailing critical spirit. Many of us have a much easier time seeing what is wrong in an individual or a church than seeing what is good. This exhortation to “hold fast to what is good” is a vital part of genuine love because it calls us to a deliberate change in mindset. If you are struggling with having a sincere love for your brother or sister, this is a good place to start.
Just as we see evil through the lens of the cross, so we should see our brothers and sisters through the lens of the New Creation. If you are having trouble loving the person next to you, something is wrong with your vision. Do you know how God sees that person? God sees all believers as clothed head to toe in all the righteousness, perfections, and beauty of Christ. He has raised us with Christ, united us with him, adopted us as his children, and is constantly working in our hearts to change us more and more into the image of his Son. The Spirit of God lives in that person next to you, and the grace of God is active for their good every minute of the day and night. This is the grace that actually changes people. It alone produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. This is the grace that gives victory over sin, and brings genuine repentance when we fall.
I’ll ask again, are you having trouble genuinely loving someone in the body of Christ? Hold fast to what is good! God has done, is doing and will do so much good in and through that person that if you put down your critical spirit and look, you will find it. As you see God’s grace active in His people, your love for Him will expand, and as your love for God expands, so will your genuine love for his people.