Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
She was a B student; 85% was just enough to make her parents happy without putting forth too much effort. After all, she was not one to show off. Unfortunately, this same attitude characterized her approach to her spiritual life. She was mostly good, doing what she was told and not defying her parents. She attended church and youth group, and she was part of the Bible club at school. However, she had no problem compromising 15% of the time. A little deceit here and a little lust there would not upset the balance if she kept it to herself – at least that was what she thought. It simply would not be enough to ignore most sins while willingly entertaining others. She would find out in time that the roots of those sins would run very deep and have lasting effects.
The Father’s instruction is very clear regarding that which is evil and sinful. It only takes the smallest amount of leavening to corrupt the whole batch. We have been set apart for that which is good and holy, for genuine love. We have been set apart not by some portion or only a measure but completely, wholly. Although grace covers over our trespasses, the expectation is not for us to seek opportunities to trespass. When we encounter any kind of evil, we should be repelled by it. Being commanded to walk in genuine love, and understanding that evil and sin are rooted in hatred, the expectation is that we would flee from them. This verse is something of a catch-all instruction to separate ourselves from anything and everything that works against God and his kingdom.
The anchor of love in this verse is critical to our hatred of evil. If we have accepted God’s love, and we practice walking in that love genuinely, the natural consequence would be for us to detest evil and run from sin. If we love God and what is good, then we will hate what He hates. We will have a right understanding of the goal of sin and evil, which is to bring death and destruction. Being a people who are called to bring light and life to this world, we should desire to have no part of that. If we still flock toward evil, perhaps we need a new revelation of God’s genuine love. Father, increase our understanding of your love, and help us to live this Christian life genuinely and obediently.