“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 among Christians is impossible to emulate unless we truly love one another. We can’t say one thing to a person’s face and say another thing behind their back. We can’t gossip about one another and call it love.
Jesus showed genuine love on the cross when he died for us, and gave himself up so we can have a relationship with him. Genuine love among us requires unconditional and sacrificial love as Jesus demonstrated.
The second part of Romans 12:9 explains that love is pure, seeking what is good instead of what is evil. Paul further explained love in 1 Corinthians 13. The whole chapter expounds on unconditional love. Even if we didn’t understand the Greek word for love here, these verses provide further understanding.
I include Romans 12:10 because it further explains the kind of love Christians have for one another. Loving one another with brotherly affection refers to the familial relationship we have. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.
How we treat one another matters greatly to God. It is part of coming fully before the Lord to treat others with unconditional love, treating them like family. This is not the way the Mafia treats family. It’s the way God treats us in offering salvation and an inheritance in his family.
Christian love means we outdo one another in showing honor and kindness. We bend over backwards, go the extra mile, to do whatever we can for each other. Our love is shown not with an emotion but an action.
I have only scratched the surface of what it means to unconditionally love other believers as Jesus loved us. He is our example in all things. It’s only because of his love for us that we can understand unconditional love at all.
It’s easy to love people in our family or our spouse. But showing unconditional love to people we wouldn’t consider family or friends is a wholly different matter. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit in us to follow this command to love one another.