True love shows no hypocrisy. Don't practice a false display of love.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…
Romans 12:9–10 NKJV
When we talk about the importance of honoring others, it’s easy to fall into the trap of showing a false form of love. This counterfeit “honor” is displayed outwardly but isn’t reflected in our thoughts and attitudes. When we face the temptation to practice a phony form of honor, there is much we can learn from Paul’s words to the Roman believers.
Paul states that true love has no hypocrisy. A definition of hypocrisy is “the concealment of one’s real character or motives” (Webster’s 1828). This would be displayed by one who acts as though they honor someone, but within themselves, they criticize, envy, or even despise the one they pretend to respect. When the other person is absent, the honorless individual might cut down, defame, or slander them. This isn’t true honor. True honor must be shown without hypocrisy.
Paul continues, “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” To abhor evil and cling to what is good is the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 8:13 states, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (NKJV). The fear of the Lord keeps us from deception. It keeps us from justifying sin and blinding ourselves to a hypocritical behavior.
True honor “gives preference” to others because it values and esteems them. Over the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to make you sensitive to the state of your heart. Do you value and esteem others? Do you truly honor them, or have you slipped into a false display of love? If you recognize weakness in this area, humble yourself before the Lord. Repent and allow Him to give you His eyes for the people in your world. Ask Him to place a holy fear within you so that you will abhor what is evil and cling to what is good: honoring and loving others.
Here’s a simple way to put this into practice. Think of someone it is hard for you to genuinely honor. Now, identify one of their strengths and sincerely thank God for it in prayer. Then, if it’s possible, be intentional to encourage the person in that strength this week. Write down what God shows you through this process. What did you learn?
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 NLT
Adapted from Honor’s Reward: How to Attract God’s Favor and Blessing (Faith Words, 2007).