Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another; for he who loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Loves does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
A smile erupts on my face when I think of the deep love of Della and Jim in the short story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry. They sought to express their love by finding the perfect Christmas gifts for one another. Della sought to get Jim a gold chain for his pocket watch, and Jim sought to get Della the beautiful combs she has been wanting for her hair. They had no money, so Della had to sell her hair and Jim had to sell his pocket watch to buy the gifts. When they realized that Della had hair combs but no hair and that Jim had a pocket watch chain with no pocket watch, they cried in each other’s arms. Soon they became wise and realized the watch chain and hair combs symbolized their sacrificial love for each other. In actuality their void was overflowing with endless love.
Like Della and Jim, we need to look for creative ways to love endlessly. As Christians know, sacrificial love is the best! Paul teaches that the debt of our obligation to love one another can never be paid in full. For when we complete an act of love for one person, there is always someone else to love. If we look at things we’ve done that we’re not proud of, like road rage, theft, performing a bad habit, and giving a backhanded insult, (or any biblical, legal, or ethical commandment we live by) we will find that if we loved God, ourselves, and others more, we would not have performed the wrongdoing. Therefore, love fulfills the law.