Settle the Love Debt

Romans 13:8 – Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Christians must express God’s love in all of their relationships.  The need to express love is illustrated as a banking institute.  Ever person you meet has a “love bank” where you can make withdrawals and deposits, and where the person can distribute to others.  We all make understandable demands to withdrawal love from others with the hope that they will distribute accordingly.  The problem that exists is when we create a debt of love.  We can overdraft without making a deposit.  The text is not suggesting a quid pro quo relationship; rather it states that Christians are individually responsible to fulfill the law by distributing love in the way we would love ourselves.  The problem is when someone only takes but never gives.  Selfish love is no love at all.

A friend of mine shared a story about this principle as she taught me about “fish love.”  People will say that they love to eat fish.  When asked why they love the fish, they will say that their loved is based on the great taste of the fish or the joy they have in catching the fish.  So, the story goes, someone shows love to the fish by catching, killing, fileting, cooking, and eating it?  If that is love then count me out!  That kind of love is based on what the fish can do for the person not on what the person can do for the fish.

Our fear is that we will give and that others will not return the gift of love.  Such a fear is understandable.  Many people have experienced the pain of one-sided love.  However, the Scriptures are clear.  True love is a love that gives to others.  We love in the measure that we hope to receive, which is not always the measure we actually receive.

If you feel like others have overdrawn from your love bank and are not making good deposits, you can take two steps.  First, you can nurture that relationship to see if love can or will be reciprocated.  Secondly, Jesus is the greatest love of our lives.  His love is shed abroad in our hearts, and we can be filled up with love as a result (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 5:18).

Are you making healthy deposits of love in the lives of others?

If not, you have created a love debt that needs to be settled.  Examine your relationships and see if you need to “settle the account.”  Yes, you will feel vulnerable.  Jesus’ demonstration of vulnerable and selfless love, the height of which was on the cruel cross, brought immeasurable joy (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Let us follow his example of loving others regardless of what may be received in return.


Daily Reading: Romans 13:8-14

Bible Reading Challenge: 21 Days of Love

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