Thursday, February 11, 2010

Romans 13:8

Romans 13:8 Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (KJV)

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. (NIV)

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what word immediately comes to mind? Of course you are thinking about the word, love. The Bible has lots to say about love. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-40 that to love God is the greatest commandment and that to love your neighbor as yourself is the second greatest commandment. He said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Paul reiterates that in our verse of the week this week when he says that “he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” James seems to say that when we fail to love, we actually break God’s law. (James 4:17)

Paul also calls this love for others a debt that we must pay. Because of the way Christ continues to show His love for us we can never repay Him. The only way we can begin to repay Christ is to show our love for others in any way we can. We really need to examine our attitudes and actions toward others. Are we tearing down others or building them up? It’s easy to find the wrong in what others do, but not always so easy to see the wrong that we ourselves do. When we are tempted to criticize another, perhaps we need to remember the commandment of love that Jesus gave and say something that will build up and not tear down. We owe love to that individual – not criticism.

And it’s not just any kind of love that we owe – it’s the kind of love that we have for ourselves. Not many of us allow ourselves to miss many meals or only wear what we can find laying around somewhere. We take time to try to make ourselves presentable. We make sure we have a roof over our heads and give ourselves plenty of things that we like and enjoy. We try hard to not be cheated or hurt and work to get justice if we feel we are wronged. This is how we “love” ourselves, and how Jesus says we should love others. Do we make sure that others are fed, clothed, sheltered and protected as much as we do ourselves? Loving others as ourselves means to actively do what we can to see that others’ needs are met. We actually owe it to them according to our verse this week.

I had never really thought about owing love to others until I read this verse and the commentary in my Bible. It is often hard to love individuals who are not kind to you or who are even perhaps nasty to you; and I cannot do it on my own. I will need to ask God through prayer to help me to love others as myself. As a Christian, I need to imitate Christ and show love in any way I can. Perhaps as Valentine’s Day comes upon us, we will think about love in a little different way this year.

No comments: