“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)
Paul, the author of many of the letters in the New Testament, wrote the words above “(to) all who are in Rome, loved by God …” (Rom. 1:7) He writes this letter to followers of Jesus in this far away land declaring to them that they are loved by God. They knew this intellectually but to hear it from their spiritual leader must have been encouraging.
We, too, are “loved by God.” I admit, I can sometimes read right over this idea and not drink in the significance of it. To be loved by God, our Creator and Lord, is so important on many levels. Paul wrote in this same letter: “But God proves His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Rom. 5:8) There is no greater love than the incredible sacrifice God gave in giving up His own Son for His creation.
What does God call us to do in response to His love for us? Our great privilege, because we have been loved by God, is to love others around us. (“Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another.”) You may say, “But you do not know this person and how hard it is to love him/her.” More than likely, all of us may have a person or two in our lives that we find it difficult to love. In Romans 15:5, Paul tells us where the ability to love comes from: “Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus.” God gives us what we need to love our neighbor.
Also, in the letter to the Romans Paul writes the following words that are worthy to memorize and always have in our hearts and minds when we interact with those difficult to love: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor.” (Rom 13:10) It takes a selfless person to live this principle on a daily basis. Because God has loved us, we can live a selfless life towards others and give them the love they so desperately need. And do you know what happens when another person knows they are loved? They begin to understand and accept the love of God and live a completely different life. May God grant us the strength to love those He puts in our paths.
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at OneMaster.org.