Do you like to pretend? Who do you like to pretend you are?
Pretending can be a lot of fun can’t it? Dressing up like someone else or imagining that you’re somewhere else doing something amazing. Pretending can help to teach us to use our imaginations and our minds to solve problems.
But there is a place where pretending can be bad. The Apostle Paul told the Romans to love each other without pretending. Listen to how he says it here in Romans 12:
Romans 12:9. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
That word “genuine” means without pretending. So love without pretending. God wants us to really love each other, not just act like we love each other. He wants us to not just say we like someone; he wants us to act like we like them too. And he doesn’t even want us to just act like we like others; he wants us to actually like each other.
And then Paul tells us two things that have to happen if we are going to really love and like each other. First we must “abhor” or hate what is evil, or bad, and then we must “hold fast” or be glued to what is good.
When I was in middle school my best friend would ask me every day to copy my homework. And for a long time, because he was my best friend, I would let him. But then it hit me that I wasn’t actually helping him, but I was hurting him because he wasn’t learning to do his own work and learn the material. So I chose to tell him he couldn’t copy my homework anymore.
Sometimes to love someone we have to help them stop doing the bad things that will hurt them. This can be really hard. Sometimes they might not want to stop. They may even get mad at you. But if you really love them you won’t let them do bad things.
And if you really love someone you will also help them do the good things that God wants us to do. You’ll help them be kind, and share, and stop copying your homework.
But how can we love like this? By remembering that Jesus loved us like this at the cross. At the cross, Jesus hated evil and he clung to the good cross taking our sins away forever. He loved us so much that he was willing to sacrifice for us. Jesus loves us enough to point out our bad, our sin, and help us to replace it with good. And now we can do the same for others. We can hate the bad and love the good. Not in a judgy way, but in a way that truly cares about our friends and wants to help them trust Jesus and grow up in his love together.
Because of Jesus our bad is being replaced by his good in our hearts.
With Jesus we can hate the bad and love the good, while always loving the person.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Here’s a scene from Frozen that you can watch together. Talk about how Anna confronted the bad that Elsa did, but still loved her and wanted her to do good instead.
You hate our evil but you love us. You are replacing our evil with your own good. Help me to help others to trust you to do the same for them.
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