Debt of Love

Being in debt is certainly not a situation that we want to be in. Obviously, we have to resolve the debt within a certain time frame or as soon as possible. Today, St Paul’s letter to the Romans 13:8-10 begins by telling us to avoid getting into debt. But it also gives another dimension to the understanding of debt – the spiritual dimension of the debt of mutual love.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

It means that we are obligated to repay the debt of love to our neighbor. But the question is, how did we incur this debt of love? Well, it is because God loved us first and hence we are now obligated to love our neighbor. And love is the one thing that cannot hurt our neighbor.

As how Luke 14:25-33 puts it, we don’t want to start building something and then stop halfway because of funds or wrong architectural plans. We want to move on in life and keep building our lives with meaning and direction.

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. Luke 14:25-33

But that would mean that we repay the debt of love to our neighbor. God freely gave us His love. We too must freely give love to our neighbor. That is the only debt that we should be in. May God inspire us to show love to one another.

Peace and Joy

Written by Rev. Fr. Courage Dogbey

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