The Debt of Love…

Alice YoungUncategorised

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour. Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.                                                                                                                          Romans 13:7-8 (NIV)

Last week’s sermon skipped over Romans chapter 13 but it’s worth stopping for a moment to take in verses 7-8. Paul has been speaking about owing allegiance to government – he doesn’t want anyone, in their desire to ‘not conform’ to the pattern of this world to begin rebelling against the structures of society. This would harm the reputation of Christians in the eyes of others and lead to chaos and possible harm to the church. Paul’s advice is to be as peaceful and law abiding as we can and to pay back every debt as soon as we can – tax or duty, respect or honour – so that Christians are known as honourable and trustworthy people.

However, there is one debt we can never pay off – the debt to love one another.  From one angle, this can sound a bit wearisome – no matter how much we love others, we can never feel that we have done enough! There is no retirement! But two things answer this complaint.

  • Firstly, if we simply aim to love others, all the other many laws that we might spend energy trying to follow as we seek to live as God’s people simply fall into place.
  • Secondly, this is a command not to an individual but to a family. We are to love others, but others are to love us too. What might sound initially like a burden is actually mutual care, in which we both give and receive (this is sometimes harder!).

How are you doing at giving love to your brothers and sisters? How are you doing at receiving it?

Love to you all, Miranda.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash