Bible Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God’s requirements. Romans 13:10
Quiz time: Which of these people do you think God wants you to love?
(a) The classmate who broke your niftiest mechanical pencil
(b) The cousin who borrowed your favorite Barbie and shaved her hair off
(c) The art-class bully who dipped his hand in nonwashable blue paint—and then put a print on the back of your favorite shirt
(d) The neighbor who came over to play and broke the original edition Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots game you inherited from your dad
(e) The friend who shared Twinkies with you when you forgot your lunch on an all-day field trip
It’s easier to love your friends. Especially a friend with whom you’ve formed a sugary-sweet bond. Yet Jesus didn’t say: “Only love the people who toss you Twinkies at lunch.” He doesn’t allow us to limit our loving to our friends, people we like, or people who are nice to us.
We owe a heap of love to everyone!
The Bible puts it this way: “Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that!” (Romans 13:8).
And that passage tells us exactly what love looks like: Romans 13:9-10 says we’re showing love when other people’s happiness, security, spiritual growth, and physical health is as important to us as our own.
Ephesians 5:29 fills out how we can love ourselves and others: “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (nkjv, emphasis added). We nourish our body when we watch out for its happiness, security, spiritual growth, and physical health. We cherish our body when we guard it from anything harmful and destructive.
That’s the same kind of love God wants you to have for others. If you truly love yourself like God intended, you’ll want to grow your body, spirit, brain, and relationships. You’ll guard yourself from anything that gets in the way. And if you truly love others, you’ll work to make sure nothing hinders the happiness, security, spiritual growth, or physical health of any of the people God puts in your life!
TALK: How can you nourish and cherish your friends God’s way?
PRAY: God, help us to love everyone around us—and to nourish them the same way we nourish ourselves.
ACT: Do one “nourishing” thing for a friend, family member, or someone you’ve needed to forgive in the past.