8Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. … So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living…. 14 …clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.Romans 13:8-14
This admonition has always caught my attention and even more these last few days. It is so easy to get swept away by the values of the culture around me. In the past I read this through the lens of monetary debt — a warning against borrowing to buy things. Owing money to someone for a thing or a lifestyle. I no longer believe that is what Paul meant. He aimed at much deeper problems.
Loving our neighbor fulfills the last six commandments that teach in favor of honoring our parents and specifically against murder, adultery, stealing, lying and coveting. When Paul says to leave no debt outstanding, he is speaking about the debt we have to love one another unconditionally.
Focusing on financial debt is the easier of the two roads. While not an easy task, especially if the debt is high, it is less painful to correct an expensive lifestyle than an unloving lifestyle. When I have cheated others out of the love I owe them, it requires humility and a laying down of my own agenda to correct. It’s a heart issue.
What debts to love remain outstanding in your life? Perhaps if energy is focused on paying those debts, the financial ones will fall into place as well.
Happy Hump Day!