Yes, I’ve heard that God is love, and I’ve heard that I’m to love the people around me. I’ve heard that for so long that I no longer question it. But, every now and then, I really like finding a really great answer. Why is loving others so important?
In Romans 13:8-10, we learn Why Loving Others Is Critically Important
(click on the link to read it)
1. Hey, wait a minute! What have I borrowed that I should be in debt?!
When I read, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (v:8), something doesn’t make sense to me. As I read that sentence I’m reminded that “the borrower is slave to the lender” (Prov 22:7), I’m confident that Paul, at least in part, has this idea in mind as he’s writing.
So, I’m left asking the question, “What did I ever borrow from my Christian siblings?” Where does this debt come from?
2. Oh, I see. I started with debt.
I think I see the answer in the following phrase, “For whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (v:8). Yes, “the law.” That really does make things clear to me. I am indebted to the people around me because of my sin. Sin has broken my relationship with both God and others. I have not treated God or others as I should have. Actually, I am unable to treat them as I should. I withhold the good that both are due, and I treat people how I shouldn’t.
So, in my mind, I have a debt to both God and others.
3. And, it would seem that the debt requires the payment of love
The phrase, “as yourself,” is an acknowledgement that people have little trouble loving themselves. They may not feel good about themselves, and may lack self esteem, but their actions toward themselves are actions of love. The actions of love that we show ourselves is a contrast to the actions of love we currently show others.
4. So, in light of Proverbs 22:7, it looks like I have a master
I am a slave to others because I am in their debt. The payment I am required to make is the repeated action of love – regardless of my feelings. Love is the payment that I, a person who began life as a sinner, have never and can never adequately give.
5. What a crazy-cool way to summarize the Law of the Spirit!
As Believers we are obligated to choose well. We are obligated to stop acting in ways that are unloving to God and others (Romans 8:12). We are obligated to the Law of the Spirit. In summary, we are obligated to love God first, and love others second (love them as we love ourselves; do to them as we would do to ourselves).
6. We’re not really talking about debt, we’re talking about design
We have been given an commandment that is impossible to fulfill. We are continually obligated to love without ceasing. This command can never be fulfilled (in the sense that we could one day say, “I’ve done my duty and I can now stop loving because my debt of love has been paid in full”). We were designed for perfect relationships with God and others. Perfect relationships with God and each other is what we have to look forward to in eternity. So, while we’re repaying our debt, we’re slowly bringing a small touch of eternity into our world right now.
Why Loving Others Is Critically Important
God has designed people to be in an incredible relationship with every other person. That kind of relationship is summed up with the word, “Love.” In order to follow the Law of the Spirit, to obey Jesus’ two commands, and to see God’s Kingdom active on the earth today, we need to be intentional about loving the people around us like Jesus loves us. This is about obedience, and it’s about making our lives better right now.
What about you?
Are you also able to acknowledge the debt that we have toward each other because of the love that we have withheld and the wrong that we have expressed? Are you able to see how you would benefit by experiencing a small touch of eternity right now while enjoying life within a community characterized by love?
Or, did you see something different in the text?
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