Like most of modern America, we are in debt. Now, ours is the “respectable” debt, a home mortgage. But, regardless of its acceptability we are reminded of this debt often. Every month we must send in a check to the bank reminding us that this home is not ours, that we owe them money that will not be paid off for years to come. Debt is a mentally consuming condition. It is something that remains a part of who you are regardless of outward appearance or how much you try internally to ignore it. It is an obligation that you carry around constantly.
Interestingly enough, in today’s passage I find another debt that I carry that I have too easily put out of my mind. Romans 13:8-10 says:
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law
I had always focused on the “owe no one anything” part of the verse and patted myself on the back for not having any personal debt to individuals, not realizing that in doing so I missed the whole point of the verse. I am in debt to every individual that I encounter. I owe them love. Not just casual grade school valentine love with the chalky conversation hearts. Real love. Self-sacrificing love. Love that will drive you to protect them, not violate them, respect their property, and cause you to not even think about any negative act toward them.
Sometimes we see love in contradiction to the law. Laws are so hard and fast, cold and unfeeling. Yet, love is the fulfilling of the law. If we truly love we don’t need to read a written law, because our hearts will drive us to act it out toward each person around us.The law is sometimes necessary because we don’t know how to love. But Christ has now shown us love personified.
Love each person. The cashier, family members, pastors, neighbors, everyone that we come into contact with. Even those that rub us the wrong way. The person that cuts us off in traffic. The customer service rep that was clearly not trained well. The shopper in the express lane with well over 15 items. The person whose clothes or attitude or words we find offensive. We still owe them love. Seriously? Yup, seriously. Love doesn’t just overlook, it reaches out with open eyes.
God didn’t ignore our sin, He died for it. His love would not let Him sit still and let us all spend an eternity in hell. Love forces action.
That’s enough conviction for me for one day, so I think I’ll stop there.
Now to figure out what my love looks like to those people.
They don’t need another savior, but they may need someone to point the way to Him.
They don’t need a Bible bashing, but they may need a listening ear.
Lord, please use me to love these people around me. Help me to feel the weight of this debt of love on a daily basis. ~Amen