Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for(B) the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments,(C) "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word:(D) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore(E) love is the fulfilling of the law.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
13:8-10 Christians must avoid useless expense, and be careful not to contract any debts they have not the power to discharge. They are also to stand aloof from all venturesome speculations and rash engagements, and whatever may expose them to the danger of not rendering to all their due. Do not keep in any one's debt. Give every one his own. Do not spend that on yourselves, which you owe to others. But many who are very sensible of the trouble, think little of the sin, of being in debt. Love to others includes all the duties of the second table. The last five of the ten commandments are all summed up in this royal law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; with the same sincerity that thou lovest thyself, though not in the same measure and degree. He that loves his neighbour as himself, will desire the welfare of his neighbour. On this is built that golden rule, of doing as we would be done by. Love is a living, active principle of obedience to the whole law. Let us not only avoid injuries to the persons, connexions, property, and characters of men; but do no kind or degree of evil to any man, and study to be useful in every station of life.
My thoughts on debt.
Throughout my entire married life...I used debt to "get ahead" in life. Got the mortgage...had multiple lines of credit. Paid my bills responsibly.
That was then...now I see it all differently. I ask my friends...about Romans 13:8 and they say..."yes, but...we live in a different age..." They have no difficult with debt. I sure do.
The problem with debt is two-fold. Firstly, debt is a burden that must be re-paid. The person who pays the piper can call the tune is the old saying. If you owe someone...you are now indebted to that person. In a way...they own a piece of you. Secondly, it assumes that you know tomorrow. In fact you are saying, I am confident that I can pay you tomorrow, confident that my incomes will be the same, that my employer/business will pay me what is currently paying me. In a way...the person is playing a role that only God can play...only He knows tomorrow. I am reminded of the old Jewish saying, "Man makes his plans, and God laughs."
The results can be devastating if they do not turn out as planned. In the Millionaire Next Door the author comments that a large percentage of wealth is found in an odd market segment...namely, auctioneers. He suggests the reason for this is that they often go into bankruptcy situations and have the responsibility of selling prized possessions that previously were expensive for pennies on the dollar. They have seen the pain when someone cannot pay their debts.
So how do you live in a world without debt. All I know is that we need to stop running to the bank to solve our problems and meet our desires. We need to consider the "old-fashioned way" of saving and working with others.
In a future post we will make suggestions on how to "think differently" about revenue generation.