Paul begins Romans 12:9-10 by insisting that our love for one another be sincere or genuine. Not that which is fake or counterfeit. He then goes further and urges Christians to be devoted to one another with brotherly love and to honor one another. He puts it this way, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor”. Can we remember the last time we tried to outdo another by showing honor? This is not usually the case in many arenas. Usually we see a competitive spirit that manifest itself as bitterness or rivalry. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we’ve been guilty at times of honoring only ourselves.
The first word Paul uses for love in Romans 12:9, is the Greek word agape. In Romans 12:10 the Greek word Paul uses for love is philadelphia, which is brotherly love. There are two Greek words that describe philadelphia. They are adelphos, which is for the word brother and phileo for the word love, or friendship. These words describe the relationship that happens among the people of God. When we are brothers or brethren it means that we are more than acquaintances, or more than friends. Paul tells us to love one another, but in doing so, let that love be genuine. We all know what fake looks like. It’s something that hides behind something else. So then what does genuine love look like? It is a love whose foundation is based on truth. It is a love that’s unfeigned and a love that’s not hypocritical.
When love is genuine what you see is what you get. Pretending to love someone by merely saying it is not love. Love is to be shown as an outward expression of what is in our hearts. So not only should we say it, we are to feel lovetoward one another. Love acts on the part of the believer. God will never be content with us treating each other decently while harboring ill or bad feelings toward one another. When we understand the meaning behind brotherly love, we will begin to see that love triumphs over economic standings, race, culture and political and social views. 1 Peter 1:22 reads, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart”. Let us make every effort to outdo one another in showing honor and let our love be genuine.