Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
The NIV translates the verse this way “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another,” . Immediately we focus on the word debt and bring up the question, “is it right to have some debt, or no debt at all”? The main focus is the word love.
The context of the verse is squashed between two themes. The first is honoring and respecting governing authorities especially if you owe them taxes. Paul indicates that we honor our government by giving what they demand. If you have made a pledge for housing, cars or other debt, you show respect that agreement by paying back what you owe.
The second theme is for those who look for loopholes to fulfill the letter of the law. The law condemns all of us. Yet each looks for a way to slide the scale so that we look good in some areas and downplay areas in which we struggle. The law demands perfection and all of us fall short.
Ultimately Jesus said to love God and love others fulfills the completion of the law. If we follow loving others as expressed in 1 Corinthians 13 our world would look very different. We would not withhold forgiveness, we would let bitterness go, we would release wrong suffering, and we would be patient and kind. There is no law that prohibits loving others.
Start with those closest to you. Have you been withholding love? Why? What would loving them more look like for you? How would it change the words that you use? What actions would be added or subtracted to express love at a deeper level? Where do you see forgiveness playing a significant role in loving your friends, family or even your enemy?
God loves us, so we ought to love one another.
Have a blessed 4th of July weekend. I am sure that you will have lots of opportunities to give away the love that you owe some others.
Blessings Love y’all