“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
These words come as a great reminder to a world that loves “credit”. The mentality of getting something now, and settling an account at a later date. So popular in our world, not just in the realm of material things that we don’t really need, and can’t afford. But even to the point where it’s used in many cases simply to survive with the bills we’ve accumulated for the life/society.
Even when some of us can clear the hurdles of credit cards, we still find ourselves chained down by what is referred to as “good debt”, but to anyone making payments on these – they’re anything but. Car loans, student loans, and even mortgages can be things we owe others.
I’m not sure if Paul was making a large theological statement about our finances, or a statement that “good followers of Jesus will not take on loans”, although it can definitely be seen as a reminder to lean away from financial debts. Verse 7 talks briefly about taxes & revenue, but that’s the only mention of financial obligations in the entire chapter.
The verses surrounding 8 are focusing on the fulfilling of the law in how we relate to one another. What relational debt do we have to others? To LOVE them. It’s easy for us to relieve ourselves of any other relational debts. We sense a great relief at these words, realizing that simply in loving others (albeit a costly and active sacrificial love) we are FULFILLING the law.
To relate to other people in a way that the only thing we ask/expect of them relationally is that they love. Not simply in our head, but to actually actively communicate to them by our demeanor and language that our expectation of them is light and loving. That the man we meet on the street, our children trying to earn our pride, our siblings who look up to us, our co-workers who feel the need to posture themselves one way or another…no matter who it may be – to communicate to them by our very nature “your love is enough.”
May God help us to be people who release those around us from any burden or expectation other than to love…