As I described last week, this is the first verse in a series on Romans 12: 9 - 21. Let's begin at verse 9:
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
This verse sets the tone. It starts with love. Not just love, but sincere love. The Vulgata (Latin translation) uses the word 'simulatione', that is without pretence. Let there be nothing simulated in your love. Of course this reminds us of the summarising of the Ten Commandments: Love God above all and your neighbour like you love yourselve (Mark 12: 30 - 31).
The Vulgata also uses the word 'dilectio', which means love. A more familiar word for love is amor. Amor is a more general term. The word dilectio references electio, which means choice. This adds the notion of choice, thus will, to the term love.
The second part of this verse talks about good and evil. The question is how to distinguish these. It seems like kicking in an open door: cling to the good things and leave evil things behind, but the distinction is sometimes hard. I think that the second part of this verse needs the first one. I think that the true distinction can only be made with love without pretence.
This kind of love seems impossible to achieve: the kind of love Jesus portrayed. This is what we need to do every day, we need to be like Christ in the way we look at the world: without any simulation in our feeling. Without pretending, but true. True to ourselves, true to our neighbours and true to God. This is possible through Christ. We can choose this kind of love, our choice should be without pretence.