Owe no man anything: don’t be late on your payments, don’t be late on your honor, don’t be late on your fear. Children are told to honor their parents. Children who disrespect their parents may be told they OWE their parents respect. Meaning you’ve defaulted on this “payment” of honor so to speak and it’s going to cost you more to restore what’s lost. Elders who labor in the word of God are said to be worthy of double honor.
The LORD says live your life in such a way that you don’t force someone else to carry your lack of responsibility. But when it comes to loving others, live as though you owe others. And not just live like it, the reality is you’ve broken the law because you failed to love others like yourself.
In this sunday school, let’s consider how the debt of love is challenged. Jesus said it’s easy to love people who already love you. Not that it’s not genuine love, but it’s just easy to do. What about when it’s challenging?
What are some ways love gets challenged?
- Psalm 116:11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
- Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. As sin abounds, as persecution ramps up, people stop trusting their neighbors and allowing themselves to care for other people. Read some of the accounts of people living through persecution whether religious or political like Alexander Solzhenitzyn’s Gulag Archipelago.
- Sometimes cynicism is a result of other people.
- You’ve either been hurt by people enough to clam up, or you just don’t allow anyone to affect you. So you’re not being hurt by anyone, but you’re also not loving anyone. In either case, cynicism has protected you from pain but also paralyzed you from loving. Look at a couple verses that talk about this.
Can you be loving while distancing yourself from others?
- Absolutely. Sometimes it takes a wall to help people love each other. Consequently, you end up cynical about people, but more importantly unkind.
- You can lovingly say, “No.”
Is it possible to love without getting hurt?
- Isaiah 53:3-5
- 1 Corinthians 13:4
- So how do you adjust your expectations? My only expectation is to love them.
What are some ways love doesn’t look like love?
- The world cannot identify true charity or love. For instance, the world thinks fornication is love. But it’s lust, not love.
- How about discipline of children? Proverbs 13:24. It doesn’t even FEEL like love. But I owe it to my children to love them.
Back to Romans 13. My sin is the result of either not loving God like I should, or not loving others like I should. And I’m a sinner, so my relationship to God’s law is that I’ve defaulted on these two things. I was tempted and led away to transgress because it got hard to love God and love others, or I was tempted and led away because I forsook loving God and loving others for something I thought was more pleasurable. As a result I am in debt to love others. And if I lived my life with this attitude that I have a debt of love, the LORD would be free to work in my life and free to bless my life because there would be no accusation against me.