Romans 13:8-10 (NCV) Do not owe people anything, except always owe love to each other, because the person who loves others has obeyed all the law. The law says, “You must not be guilty of adultery. You must not murder anyone. You must not steal. You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.” All these commands and all others are really only one rule: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Love never hurts a neighbor, so loving is obeying all the law.
When I read over Romans 13:8 this morning, my mind went back to the very first Sunday I walked through the doors at the church I currently attend. That morning, I was just trying to hide the fact that I had seen the bottom of the Jack Daniels bottle the night before but the people in the lobby of the church didn’t see that at all. They saw someone who was hurting and desperately in need of finding hope and healing. As my Dad introduced me to people he knew, they welcomed me like I was one of their own. Instead of a judging glance, they were full of warm smiles and hugs. I could feel the love just oozing out of them…and I must say it felt different. Never had I been to a church where I felt as loved as I did that morning and I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that these people didn’t even know me.
So why would a group of people open their arms in such a manner to a stranger?
What is “love” anyway? A feeling?
No, it’s an action. It is something that we must do. We must love because God first loved us.
John wrote in 1 John (9-12 – MSG) that we are to love because God first loved us. He (God) showed us the measure of His love by sending his one and only son to die for our sin so that we might live through him.
Jesus also commands us to love one another. John 13:34 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
The men and women in the lobby that morning were so full of love for Jesus that it not only came out in the words they said, it poured out of them through their actions and in truth (1 John 3:18 MSG). I was blown away and I knew right then I wanted to get to that same place in my own life. I wanted a life of love instead of the guilt and shame that buried me in the pit I had been hiding in for years.
This changed didn’t happen over night for me…but it did happen! It all started with that morning with people who loved Jesus and were willing to share that love with anyone who walked through the doors.