Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one
Financial guru and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey
frequently says, “Debt is normal. Be weird.” In an
age where charging purchases to a credit card and
spending beyond one’s means are common practices,
Ramsey urges his listeners to “act their wage,” save up,
and—other than the occasional online or phone order—
pay cash for their purchases.
To be fair and balanced, there are occasions when
incurring a debt is a legitimate option. Otherwise, Jesus
wouldn’t have said, “Give to those who ask, and don’t turn
away from those who want to borrow” (Matthew 5:42).
But Ramsey’s point is well taken. Whenever it’s possible,
living debt-free is the way to be. As the proverb says, “the
borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
Regardless of our financial state, there’s one debt that
each of us owes to our fellowman. It’s a debt that the apostle
Paul wrote about in his letter to the Christians in Rome. After
addressing a Christian’s responsibility to civil authorities and
explaining why Christians should pay their taxes, he wrote,
“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love
one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the
requirements of God’s law” (Romans 13:8).
This was not the first time Paul urged the Christians in
Rome to show love toward each other. Just one chapter
earlier he wrote, “Love each other with genuine affection,
and take delight in honoring each other” (12:10). It’s as if
Paul returned to the theme of loving our fellowman because it’s such an essential
aspect of life—something that can’t be stressed too much.
Loving our neighbor is an ongoing debt. It’s one obligation that we could never
or should never fully repay.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill.”
How will others view you if you practice this advice?
How are you doing in paying off your debts? How does it bring glory
to God for us to do so?