Let’s put a puzzle together. On the box cover is a picture of a big heart. 

There is a passage in Romans 12 that says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” 

The NLT says it this way, “Don’t just pretend to love people, really love them. Hate what is wrong, hold tightly to what is good.” 

The NASB says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”

Why is this passage so important to our parenting?

Sincere, without hypocrisy, and not pretending. Really loving. 

Would people explain you that way for a work reference? Are you that person with your spouse, children, parents, siblings, neighbors, the moms at your kids’ schools or team practices? 

If we’re not loving that way, our children are learning a wrong way to love.

There is someone I struggle to love well. Our personalities clash and there has been betrayal between us. This verse always reminds me of this frustrating situation. Because I know my children are learning to love from me, I try to actively love this person. When I don’t feel like it, I pray for that person. I am also trying to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do… obey God. Loving this way is a command.

On my own, I fall short. I don’t want to love this person anymore. I’ve been hurt, offended, and I’m not safe with this person. 

I’ve talked with my children about being wise in relationships and forgiving but not putting ourselves in harms way by remaining in relationships that have been harmful or toxic. But they also know this verse… silly mama helping them memorize it. 

So how do I love sincerely? 

I must hate what is evil (my selfishness and bitterness) and cling to what is good (God’s love for me and for the one He loves and created in His image). 

So I cling to 1 John 4:16, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

My heart puzzle isn’t finished, yet, but when it’s done… the picture will be of Jesus. Until it’s done, I’ll give the one He created His love one piece at a time until all I’ve given is God’s love and not my broken, insincere, incomplete love. And I will really be loving God by loving this person because I’m obeying Him by giving His love and not my own. I trust my children will watch me love and love with God’s love instead of their own, too… one piece at a time. 

Who is someone your children need to love with God’s love? How can you teach them this truth?