Steadfast and Sincere Love

Hosea 6:6

The Lord says, “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings.”

Romans 12:9–10 (NIV)

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, Canada - June 2015
Jesus teaches us that if our brother or sister in Christ comes to us seventy-times-seven, repenting and asking for forgiveness, we are to forgive him or her. That is a difficult calling and challenging action to take. Anyone would become forgiveness weary after the sixth time with the same person – not to mention the seventieth, or the seventy-times-seventh time! 

One alternative to forgiveness is based on a false notion regarding our need for forgiveness. Religious self-righteousness expressing itself in God-ordained ritual performance can become the true measure of righteousness. I don’t need to forgive you because I don’t sin like you do and I do all these religious things. This is what Hosea speaks of: Covering over our need for true forgiveness and hardening our hearts toward others is not what God desires.

Sincere love doesn’t offer fake religious formalism in place of kindness, humility, and compassion. Acknowledgement of our sin – the real and ugly cancer that invades our souls – and rejoicing that Christ has forgiven us from all our sin, leads us to hate evil, devote ourselves to that is good, offer steadfast love to others, and care for the welfare of others. This is Christ’s call and what God truly desires.

What will that look like when your lawn crew shows up today, or the driver needs to get into your lane, or your co-worker drops the ball…again!, or your husband is forgetful, or your neighbor’s dog dies? Could it be that those feet-on-the ground events are actually occasions to offer steadfast and sincere love?

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