Be Kindly Affectionate

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. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
~Romans 12:9-13, ESV

So often (too often, for my liking), we compete. We participate in inane, daily competitions with one another. Especially us women. I can rarely be in a group of women where most, if not all, are sizing each other up. Who's the prettiest, who's the most fit, who has on the cutest outfit, who has the most perfect family? And nowadays, the most common competitions are: who has the most friends/followers, likes, comments, and social media birthday wishes (insert eye roll). The list of self-exalting, sinful comparisons, is endless.

But our God and Father says the only "competition" we ought to seek, to daily participate in, is to "outdo one another in showing honor." As God's dearly beloved, holy children, we ought to daily seek to love one another with the love of Christ—genuine, holy, agape, sacrificial love that seeks the good of others without seeking any good in return. Just as God has loved us in Christ Jesus.

Does this mean that we are to aspire to merely be doormats to the world; to anyone, whether professing Christian or not? Absolutely not. The idea that children of the LORD of hosts should consider themselves less than they are (slaves of righteousness), is absurd. We are not royal doormats for anyone to use and abuse to their wicked hearts’ desire. We are holy slaves who behold the greatest treasure—Christ Jesus the Lord.

It’s very disconcerting and gravely disheartening that there are many who are erroneously taught by teachers and preachers of the Word (who ought not be teaching nor preaching), who twist and malign God’s holy Word and precepts, rather than uphold them.

Was not Christ our Lord, the one who whipped and turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple? Was not our Lord and Savior, the Christ of God Almighty, the one who called the falsely religious Pharisees a brood of vipers and sons of the devil? Was it not our Lord Jesus that said the world hates Him because He keeps telling them their ways are evil? And was it not the Son of the Most High God, the one who spoke and taught less about love, and more about Hell and the eternal judgment and condemnation that will come to all who do not repent and trust in His name alone? Yet, in today’s churches, and among most professing Christians, this is not the holy, righteous, and strong message that is taught, nor practiced.

Being kindly affectionate, isn’t the command to appease sinners in their sin. It isn’t the command to coddle the unrepentant, under the guise of: “ministering” to anyone who claims to be weak and faint-hearted. It isn’t the command to chase after those who feign humility and injury, while allowing them to sow division and strife among the saints.

The command to be kindly affectionate, is the bold, the mighty, and high command of our Most High God and Father—to love as He loves us in His Son—in holiness and righteousness.

So if you’re tempted to size someone up, do it. But not with your Pharisaical and self-approving standards, but with the perfect and holy Word of God.

Aspire to be one who obeys this holy command, who rightly understand its holy precepts, by testing all things you hear, feel, and see with God’s Word. Be quick to listen (to the Holy Spirit), slow to speak (to the one telling the story), and slow to become angry (at anyone the speaker may rightly or falsely accuse of sin).