Today’s sermon on Romans 13:8-10 was a reminder of the most beautiful and important of four-letter words known to man.
It is also the most misused and misunderstood.
I was hungry and thirsty to rewind the sermon in my mind. I wanted to hear more. Needed to challenge myself more. Beautiful pearls of truth need to be studied with greatest care.
Of all the virtues that I most covet, this is the crown jewel. So I cracked open Matthew Henry’s commentary first thing. He speaks.
“LOVE is a debt.
The law of God and the interest of mankind make it so.
It is not a thing which we are left at liberty about, but it is enjoined us, as the principle and summary of all duty owing one to another; for love is the fulfilling of the law; not perfectly, but it is a good step towards it.”
Love is a debt. We owe Christ our eternal happiness. When we serve our chronically ill husbands, we are living the law of love.
I watched my grandfather faithfully love his wife through the tortuous path of Parkinson’s. It was an seemingly endless cycle of loss as her capacities lessened. The day she died, he wanted to die, too. His loving faithfulness was the steely example I’ve needed. His living proved you can make it through Christ.
This ugly world does not have to suck you into the muck of its adulterous slime pit. His footprints are in the sand before me.
Then, there’s my brother. What lovingkindness and gentle care he gave to his wife through four years of battling stage four cancer! He’s a young “buck” still, but his feet kept to the path of marriage vows with beauty and tenderness in the midst of heart-wrenching pain, sleepless nights, financial loss, and many days of solo parenting.
Both men knew this truth. We owe a debt of love to Jesus! God become flesh and became our atonement for sin — that we can never repay.
His love requires us to love one another.
I am forever grateful for faithful men who set this example.
We are bombarded with messages to love ourselves. Doctors and therapists push us to seek our own happiness.
Well, if that’s what life’s all about, we would all leave our chronically ill spouses in the dust!
There’s a strange beauty that comes in walking with the the broken that cannot be obtained any other way. When you learn to love through the ugly, God’s love in Christ comes to light.
The desperate neediness of the pain-filled hours remind us that God chose not leave us alone in our terrible plight. He did not abandon us.
Instead, His truth brings hope.
His love gives eternal life to those who forsake sin and call on Jesus as their Savior and Master.
Who would you rather have as a boss? Satan, whose motto is grab all the happiness you can possibly snatch in this life, or Jesus, whose eternal love rescues us from eternal hell?
He calls us to walk in love for others. Satan calls for loving ourselves first.
I’m still running my race here with the long-term, degenerative chronic illnesses. I haven’t finished my course yet.
But Love calls me.
It calls me upward and onward with searing, painful beauty.
Love is calling you, too, dear sister.
We didn’t “sign up” for this non-fairytale marriage. We, however, were called by His love to love our neighbor as ourself, no matter how broken they are.
May the beauty of the LORD rest upon you and grant you peace, joy, and hope in believing this week.
May you be carried by the beautiful love of the Lord Jesus.