“Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” vs. 8
Paul echoes the words of Jesus as he recommends that the Roman community fulfill the law by loving one another. It’s obvious from the context, that he is speaking of the way members of the church should treat each other within the largely pagan culture, and some have questioned whether that same injunction can be applied to loving those outside the circle of believers. Some even argue that there is no such requirement for Christians, that there is no need to treat outsiders with love and respect, and that we can therefore freely malign anyone who doesn’t share our faith. And so some of us do! The problem with such thinking is that it cuts across the grain of Jesus’ plain teaching in his parable of the Good Samaritan. There we learn that true neighborly love cuts across racial and religious boundaries and extends even to our enemies. It is likely that Paul shared that conviction, particularly since he spent his life on extended missionary journeys to reach out to the ‘Other’ with the good news. And if that is how we are to treat others, we are most certainly called to shower one another with unyielding and unconditional love. Where Christians manage to pull that off it becomes our greatest marketing advantage. As was said of the early community of believers in Jerusalem, “See how much they love each other!” Outsiders not only need love, they are impressed where they see genuine love at work.
Thought for the Day: How is love expressed in my faith community?