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Reflections on Romans 13:9-10 (Tue)

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Today’s passage:

13:9 For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

It’s interesting to note that “do not covet” is singled out in this list of modifiers about loving our neighbors. You’d think that coveting is something internal that doesn’t affect others. Yet our thoughts and attitudes can’t help but affect our treatment of others. There is no way to separate them. To do so would invite hypocrisy — viewing them one way and trying to treat them a different way.

does no wrong to a neighbor. This is interesting because usually we think of love as going out of our way to do right things for a neighbor. After all, “love is action,” right? Here it seems Paul would be happy if we just stopped doing wrong to them. It kind of goes back to the idea of “owing no man anything.” There should be an absence of negative “drain” from us on our neighbors.

When it comes to love, what we don’t do is as important as what we do do.

1 Comment

  1. Martha Troxel

    July 14, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Paul sure is very challenging! Also interesting that after being a Pharisee he could distill the law to just a few sentences!

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