Last week I caught my second round of Covid-19. Thankfully, it was a very mild case. Still, I wanted to try to keep it to myself and not spread it to my family or church or to you in the community. I mostly stayed home, but when I had to go out, I wore a mask. I was reminded how you feel more distant from people when your face is covered.
Then I thought of Halloween coming up the end of this month. That’s when people put on masks and pretend to be someone totally different, like an Avenger, a princess, or a past U.S. president. In Bible times, it was actors who often wore masks as they put on theatre plays. In a mask, you could pretend to be Hercules, Cleopatra, or just about anyone you wanted.
The old Greek word for “actor” sounds like our English word “hypocrite.” They pretend to be something they’re not. They’re up there acting, putting on a show. But the Bible says, when it comes to loving others, do not be a hypocrite.
That is, “Let love be genuine” (Romans 12:9). In other words, don’t just pretend to love someone; don’t just act like you care. We should really, truly, sincerely love others.
There is faith, hope, and love in our Christian lives, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is the first fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). God Himself is love (1 John 4:8), and we are to imitate our heavenly Father by loving others (Ephesians 5:1-2). This is how the world will know that we are Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).
We can try to fake it, putting on a nice face. But no, don’t pretend—ask God to give you a sincere love for others.