Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10
These words from the book of Romans challenge us. The challenge to not only “owe no one anything” but to also “love your neighbor”. Speaking for myself, this has never come easy. When thinking through today’s news stories, remembering past hurts or offenses, and then repentance of our own wrongs done to others, things get blurry.
Well, maybe not blurry, maybe more “ugly”. That is, I have held onto offenses and wrongs far longer than a christian should. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, these sink and soak into my mind and heart and I don’t feel or act as these verses in Romans dictate.
Awhile back things changed through the counsel of one of my children. I had been working with an employee that had different views and opinions than myself, and my daughter noticed my demeanor. “Dad, isn’t it kind of wrong for you to feel this way about this person when you claim to know God, and have belief in Jesus?”
This coming from a 14 year old at the time. I was humbled. I was wrong, and I was sorry. She was right. She was spot on of her view of belief in God and it’s meaning in my life.
Days later, I approached this co-worker and confessed my tone to her. I apologized and asked for forgiveness. I cannot say that I know the exact amount of forgiveness that person may have truly given me, but I can attest to the change of heart that took place for myself.
News stories and confrontations with others took a different path in my thoughts. Things were “lighter” and I found myself carrying far less anger and bitterness over the same topics that previously brought me down.
Loving your neighbor does far more than blessing your neighbor. It blesses us as well. Loving others, whether you want to or feel like it, unlocks potential that is otherwise trapped under clouds of darkness, bitterness, envy, and strife. Your walk becomes easier and your mood changes yourself AND those interacting with you.
Loving our neighbors is an ACTION. It will not happen on its own and we have to WORK AT IT. It takes effort to lay down your “rights” and pick up the duty of a good Samaritan. Look around today and see if you can’t find somewhere to enact this thinking and this action of love. Make a decision to bring love into your FIRST REACTION instead of the way I had saved it as the LAST OPTION. Watch the difference. Feel the change.
Love really does set us free and love through Christ’s sacrifice for us changes everything. Our thoughts, our mood, even our circumstances… they shift to a lighter, brighter, and open life change. Let’s bring on the Light. Let’s be the Light. Peace.