Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Much Do You Owe?

Have you ever owed something to someone?
Do you owe anything to someone now?

Sometimes being indebted to someone can be a tough pill to swallow. Sometimes owing doesn't feel so good. I know, for example, that from time to time we get those most "friendly-not" phone calls from debt collectors at my house, and we are never left with a "cozy" feeling inside or "happy" thoughts in our minds. It usually involves us having to deal with the sometimes harsh reality that we are debtors. And so we owe. And we are left to bear the responsibility that also comes with owing.

The other day, my husband was involved in a minor car accident. Well, minor in the sense that nobody was really hurt by it. However, our car (my baby) was partially totaled and had to be towed away. Obviously, we did what had to be done, and called the insurance to report the accident; and now we wait for the bill. The car is in the shop for about ten days; and well, we await the bill.

Bill= Debt.

Debt= not always a good thing.
A pile of debt= never a good thing.

However, the Bible says in Romans 13:8a, 9-10, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another... The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,'' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Love... a debt? A continuing debt? I never thought of it that way. So I owe love, but whom to?
I mean, I know how to love.. especially those close to me. How could I not love my beautiful children? And I think I've proven my capacity to love in a marriage of now 19 years.
So what more do I have to do to show love? and to whom exactly?

My neighbors? My coworkers, my boss, my brothers and sisters from church, my former friends, my so-called friends, my hurtful friends, and my enemies too?
Okay, so I am indebted continually to loving. And just like I'm responsible for the pile of debt that sits on my husband's night table, I am also responsible for this one great and ongoing debt.
In fact, no debt is greater. I can gather up the funds needed to ultimately pay off my earthly debts somehow.
But to love.... well,
Love is an action. And it will usually cost us something.
You can obtain it freely. But when you are the "giver", love will cost you something.

Maybe the cost is your ego or your pride. In essence, when you decide to love someone, you are also deciding to relinquish yourself and motivations. And instead, you do what is in the best interest for that person. Needless to say, loving is not an easy debt to pay. It requires effort and action. Maybe that is why on more than one occasion in the Bible, we are called to love.

Ephesians 4:32 reminds us that we are to put others first because of this love that we are indebted by. Because of this love, we are called to forgive more times than we can count. Because of this love, we are called to show mercy.
Because of this love, we are called to love.

"it's too difficult", you say
"he/she doesn't deserve it"
"I'm not strong enough"

By the way, there are no exceptions, no clauses, or waivers to excuse us from this debt.
There is, however, an endless source of strength and love found in the one who paid the ultimate debt of love.

Philippians 4:13, " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".

Okay then, I'm up for the challenge to pay this ongoing debt. How about you?

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