** Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. ** Romans 13:8-10
I am going to be honest with you. It is easier to follow a list of rules than it is to love. It is easier to have a checklist of right and wrong than it is to love someone in spite of all of their flaws. So, let’s talk about how we can learn to love over law as mentioned here in Romans.
When we think of owing someone something we tend to think in terms of money. But when we look at these three verses we can see another application. The context tells us that owing goes way beyond paying someone back for lending us gas or grocery money.
If we commit adultery, we owe honor to that person. Because we have not only put ourselves in a bad light but we have also tarnished the name of the other person involved. We both lose our honor, so we have a debt of honor to them, to ourselves and to our families.
Killing, or murder is easier to understand that there is a lack of love being showed, right? If love involves kindness and goodness then taking someone’s life would be the opposite of love. If we commit murder we are indebted to the family of that person to care for their needs. Also, Exodus also tells us ” life for life”. We may owe our own life to those who were affected by our act of murder.
Stealing is taking away something of value from another whether it be money, possessions, a spouse, or a child: as in kidnapping. We could also say that we are stealing someone’s reputation by gossiping, or stealing their honor by lying about them–which falls right into bearing false witness against someone–the two go hand in hand. If we steal, we owe the other person their good name. It is up to us to help them restore it if we have lied about them. And it is up to us to restore what we stole at 7X its worth. We should be investing much effort and time into restoring what we stole from them.
Love also says we should not be envious of others, or be puffed up with our own importance. The presence of envy and feeling puffed up could provoke us to steal or lie about another. Love also does not think any evil. If we find ourselves feeling negative about someone, we need to be careful that we do not go the next step away from love and speak ill of them or take anything from their reputation.
Thou shalt not covet. We should not want something so badly that another person has that we are willing to break all of the other laws to get it. Like David did with Bathsheba. He wanted to be with her and ended up breaking every one of these commandments in the process.
But love is being conscious of the other person’s situation and heart. Covetousness is only thinking of ourselves and our needs and wants. Love is stopping ourselves before the situation gets out of hand. Love is stepping back and saying no to ourselves. Love is dying to self.
**Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. **
Love eliminates all of these issues from our daily lives. Love erases our need to even want to commit any of these acts that show an obvious absence of love towards others. Love is completely keeping the Law of Moses and the Law of the Lord because we care about others, not because we are checking off our good- girl list.
Love is kindness and goodness and being willing to wait for what we want. It is forgiving and being merciful, and not being vengeful or vindictive. It is remembering that we are not perfect and we shouldn’t demand the perfection of anyone else. It is giving multiple chances to restore a relationship. It is not reacting to an offense so quickly that we only respond in anger and verbal attacks or physical harm.
Love over law. It is more powerful and has more impact than letting someone know how and where they fall short.
Love covers a multitude of sins. The sins of others and our own.