Love One Another
“Owe no man anything except to love another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law…Loves does not harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10).
Love one another, do no harm: words that are easy to say, but are filled with challenges when they need to be applied. Love is easy until love is demanded. Then it costs me something.
However, love is a choice. So I get to choose to love. No one makes me love another. In vs. 9 there is a list of “thou shalt nots.” Why do we refrain committing adultery or murder? Is it because we are afraid of being found out? No. They are a violation of love thy neighbor as thyself. Love does not harm to a neighbor therefore we chose not to commit a sin against another.
There are two qualifiers mentioned. One is love fulfills the law. Second is “as thyself.” Love one another is a byproduct of a devotion and commitment to God and His word. We are to be so committed to God that, like Him, we will do no harm to even our enemy (Matt 5:45). And, second, if we properly understand we are created in the image of God, we will not harm ourselves but regard ourselves as God’s special creation. We will value ourselves so much that we will do ourselves no harm. So, because of our deep love for God and high regard for ourselves, we will not harm another. That is the love we chose.
We get to choose bitterness or love. One of the two will fill our hearts. One leads to self-destruction; the other leads to God. Bitterness is an acid. It's akin to hate, anger, ill will, and malice. It is often a by-product of envy or jealousy. Sometimes is comes as a result of being hurt. Whatever produces bitterness, it is self-focused. The person toward whom we may be bitter probably does not even know about it. Bitterness destroys me, not the other person.
Love, on the other hand, fills me up with God’s fullness. It helps me to be longsuffering, kind, tenderhearted, and even forgiving. Love not only helps me, it also help the other person. While bitterness grinds within, love is proven by action. Love gives (John 3:16).
Bitterness never produced anything worthwhile nor a person who does no harm to another. Love gives life and enable a person to no harm. We owe each that kind of love (Rom. 13:8).