Romans 13:7-8 – “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” NIV
Although it would be appropriate to address debt, especially in light of the massive mountain of debt that the Federal Government has burdened the American People today, or focus on personal debt. But that is not what I want to focus on in this devotional. Those are also matters of integrity but a subject for another time and place.
When we think of debt most of the time we think of our bills and obligations financial. We think of the indebtedness we have incurred to lives in order to live the style of life we have chosen. Yet, this passage speaks of other debts that are equally, if not, more important in the scope of our relationship with the Lord.
Before, I address those let me say, “it is never right to fail to take care of those obligations to which we have committed ourselves.” Therefore, I am not suggesting that in what I am saying. My point in this is that there are some debts that run far deeper and that we often fail to even realize that we have those debts. The bills rolling in every month prevent us from being able to ignore them, but the debts of which I am speaking are not always so obvious.
Let me suggest some of those debts.
Respect: The apostle Paul addresses this as a debt to be paid. Have you ever considered that respect could be a debt? I did not think so! I passionately believe that respect is earned. Even though we may disagree with our parents we still owe them respect especially if they spent their lives attempting (with success or not) to provide for us, teach us the right paths in life, and protect us from the evils of this world.
However, it does not have to be just parents but how about the military, police, teachers, preachers, or those who have devoted their lives to serving God and man. One way to address the payment of that debt would be to remember them at special times and on special occasions, but how about just unexpectedly sending them a card, letter, phone call, or gift to express our appreciation for them not just what they do but for them.
Honor: Wait, I have a debt of honor? If there is someone in your life that has played a significant role in helping to shape and mold you, they are due honor. The Bible teaches us to honor our fathers and mothers and in so doing we will live long lives.
Consider those whose unwavering integrity has impacted not only your life but untold numbers of others. Find a way to honor them to fulfill the debt of honor. Could I suggest that you become the person that they have demonstrated and in so doing Honor Them!
Next, the apostle with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says that there is to be no outstanding debt except the ongoing debt “to love one another.” When you consider the debt that we have to love based on the Love of God exhibited toward us in the sacrifice of Jesus, how could we, not seek to pay this debt regularly to whomever we are able.
It may be painful to love because we may not like what the object of our love says or does on any particular occasion. Those words or actions may be like fingernails on a chalkboard. Those we love may not understand why or what we have chosen for our lives. They may rightfully point out some flaws in our thoughts or actions. Those are not justifications for us to withhold our love. All of us like to be affirmed. We do not normally like to be challenged or even questioned.
Love is a choice! It is not an emotion! That is not to say there will not be emotions attached to love, but in and of itself it is not an emotion it is a conscious decision on our part. God chose to love us and because He first loved us, we can choose to love others. We owe that debt not only to others but to God! Obeying that directive and choosing to love will not purchase our salvation but will enhance our relationship with the Lord because it transforms our hearts.
I have had and have people now who find it difficult to love me! In some of those cases, I know why and in others I am clueless but know it to be reality. I may not like everything you do or even want to spend time with you, but I can choose to Love you! Our personalities may clash and our views of what should or should not be done spiritually, naturally, economically, etc. may be diametrically opposed to each other, but I am still able to Love You!
If you bring to remembrance an account in the Book of Acts, it might help. The apostle Paul found himself in such a situation that his ministry team split up and went in separate directions due to a disagreement. Did that mean they did not love each other, NO! It meant that they recognized that they did not agree completely, and the Bible is clear that two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement.
To try to have a close relationship in that situation would only cause tension and be detrimental to those involved and those they are trying to reach. Paul did not criticize those departing and even recommended them in his travels, but it took years for God to mellow both sides to the point that they could link up in a common effort. Do not allow the devil to defeat you if you find yourself in that situation but also do not allow him to rob you of the benefit of Love!
May this day be the best day you have ever lived and overflow with victories. May the rich and bountiful blessings of the Lord flow out of an open window in heaven upon you and all that you do on this day!
I treasure you and the opportunity to share my heart with you daily! Blessings!