Punctuation is very important in the title of this post. The title of the post is “I owe you love.” The title is NOT “I owe you, love.” There is a difference.
(As an aside, I wanted to call this post “IOU <3" but I was afraid that some people wouldn't get it. My family would get it.) Like many people, I have a love/hate relationship with St. Valentine's Day. Many (many) years ago, I had a creative brainstorm, and I did something for St. Valentine's Day that blew away my wife. (I'm not bragging... I'm not romantic. It was quite abnormal for me.) Anyway, since that year, I've always felt pressured to "live up" to that St. Valentine's Day, I've never felt any new idea even came close, so I've typically given up and punted to the card and/or candy deal. This post is not really about St. Valentine's Day. I mean, if I had forgotten to get my wife something for St. Valentine's Day, then I could have called this post "I owe you, love." But, I didn't. The post is called "I owe you love." However, it was in thinking about St. Valentine's Day that I was reminded of a short command written by Paul to the Christians in Rome. (Yes, it is a command, interestingly enough.)
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 ESV)
Think about that for a moment: Owe no one anything, except to love each other.
I owe you something: love. It’s true. I owe you love. Not because you loved me already, or because you deserve to be love. I owe you love because love has been so lavished upon me by God. I repay him (not really, but that’s the symbolism) by loving you and others. I respond to his love by loving others.
It really is that simple.
And, it really is that difficult.
Because, I can’t choose who to love.
And, because I can’t “settle” this “debt.”
If I’ve shown you love every day for last 10 years… I owe you love.
By the way, the “you” in the statement “I owe you love” is general. I may not be able to show love “you” specifically. I may not meet you today, and I may not even run into you during this lifetime. But, when I do come across someone, I owe love to that person.
Interestingly, as difficult as it is to owe people love, it is never presented as a burden in Scripture. Instead, showing love is always presented as a privilege and a joy. I wonder… if I’m struggling to show someone love… perhaps there’s a problem with the source of my love.
Anyway, that will have to wait until another post. For now, I just wanted to remind you and me, that we owe each other love. And, we owe other people love.
Yes, that person right there. You owe that person love.