Romans 12:9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. 12:10 Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. 12:11 Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. 12:12 Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality.
I went back and reread my daily reflections and comments posted from this past week. My perspective is a little different as I’m now writing this from a Disney World resort (my 94 year old grandfather paid for a week here with all 29 of his descendents).
So I’m going to reflect on a few parts of this passage with the perspective of being here. Now I’m happy to be here and grateful for this family time together, so don’t think my comments are negative.
“Love must be without hypocrisy.” Everything here is hypocrisy. I’ve never been treated so well, but I’m sure most of it is far from genuine. All the employees here, i.e. “cast members,” are paid to make us feel good. They are instructed to always smile, always act happy, always accomodate every need and want of us tourists. Their job is to make us feel happy, not to truly love us, which is oftentimes different. My brother-in-law used to work here and said that even if an employee’s mom died yesterday, they are not allowed to come to work sad. They must either come to work happy or stay home.
I suppose this philosophy works for vacationers, but it sure can’t last very long. This is not reality. Life is messy and true love walks a person through the mess. Sincere love means crying together and being silent together, along with rejoicing together.
As far as “good and evil”. At first glance, it would seem there is much more good here in this wholesome environment than evil, unless you consider materialism, waste, gluttony, self-centeredness, greed, and over-indulgence to be evil, which I do
I do see a lot of “enthusiasm in serving” by the cast members. I suspect it’s primarily motivated by incentives of remuneration, but I’m sure there are plenty who genuinely enjoy serving others, hopefully a lot of believers. They’re good about “honoring others,” celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, and even “first timers”. The chuch could take some lessons from them in this area. Likewise, they do a tremendous job of “pursuing hospitality.” They do run towards this and it is fun to be the beneficiary of their amazing hospitality.
As far as “enduring suffering” there is no such thing as suffering here. They work hard to eliminate it all as much as is humanly possible. Again, that’s fine for vacationers for a week, but real life will require facing reality.
Pampering ourselves for a week at Disney World may be ok — perhaps it has value in that it gives us a taste of the heavenly delights that await us as we enjoy God Himself in a place without pain, tears, and sorrow.
But Romans 12:9-13 speaks clearly to me that we certainly shouldn’t live this way very much on this side of heaven! Real life is much different!
(*For this summer, I’ve divided up Romans 12-16 into daily readings and have committed to daily journaling my reflections about each to correspond with Pastor Bob’s sermon series.)