“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13:8, ESV

Nobody wants to find themselves in debt—whether it’s in debt to the bank, or to the credit card company, or even to a close friend. We’d rather pay off our obligations as soon as we can rather than find ourselves in a pile of unending dues. The feeling that we get when we owe something can loom heavily upon us and cause much stress and anxiety. So it’s no wonder that the Apostle Paul urged the believers in Rome to “owe no one anything” (Rom. 13:8a, ESV). When it’s within our capacity, the Bible urges us to fulfill our obligations and pay our debts in full.

However, Paul tells us that there’s one particular debt that cannot be fully repaid. And that is the debt of love. Paul continued,

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
(Rom. 13:8, ESV, emphasis added)

Paul tells us that if there’s something that we continually owe to each other, it is love. Love is an ongoing obligation that we have to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Can we begin viewing one another as if we have a debt of love to them?

I believe seeing people in this way—that we owe them love—will shape how we interact with them on a regular basis. If we see people as if we owe them a debt of love, we’ll be much more forgiving when they do us wrong. We’ll be much more accommodating to their requests for help. We’ll be much more sacrificial in how we serve them. We’ll be more generous with our time, money, and resources. In fact, it will become a great joy to be of service to people because we believe that we actually owe them something—we owe them a debt of love. Imagine what life would look like if we constantly saw each other in this loving and sacrificial way. Our churches, communities, and workplaces would be transformed.

However, this is not an easy idea to embrace. And that’s because we encounter people on a regular basis who are hard to love or who take advantage of us or who we feel aren’t deserving of our love. It could be a stubborn co-worker. Or a church member who gossips. Or a family member who’s so needy. It can be hard to love people like that and serve them sacrificially. But we have a great example of sacrificial love in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus loved us first. And because He loved us first, we are also able to love others in a sacrificial way too (see 1 Jn. 4:19).

Can we begin to see people as if we owe them a debt of love?

I believe doing so will greatly shape how we interact with them every single day. And it will shape us to love people both joyfully and sacrificially.