“6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13: 6-8
It may be April 16th, but it is TAX DAY! Yay? Sorry to those who thought they could escape it since the 15th fell on a Sunday this year. I’m sure most didn’t, but I wouldn’t put it past some individuals.
I thought I’d share some scripture pertaining to the wonderful world of taxes. Yep. Even way back in biblical times (and before) people paid their dues and hated it just as much as we do. What I enjoy about this particular scripture passage is that the focus is not just on giving taxes. Yes, we are to respect the governing authorities and pay our dues, but we also are to give to others what is due them.
What does that mean? Should we only respect and honor those in position over us or only those we think deserve it? What about only those who first respect and honor us? Is this a good way to live with others?
I don’t think so. Verse 8 tells us that our debts will continue to remain outstanding unless we love one another. The fulfillment of the law (God’s law) is to love each other as He loves us. That’s not an easy thing. I know I can be pretty unlovable sometimes, at least in the eyes of the world, or say, my husband. I don’t do or say loving things, or just have a stinky attitude. Anyone else ever behave that way?
The good news is that God loves us despite the way we act. He loves US for US because He is our creator. He loves us even before we accept His love for us. His way of loving breaks every notion of worldly love. We aren’t loved because we earn it or because we are perfect. We are loved in spite of our imperfections and despite the fact that we often don’t “deserve” it.
So the verses in Romans 13 tell us to give to others whatever they are due. If we follow the example of God that means that we give others respect, honor, and most importantly, love, even if we don’t think they deserve it. We respect the boss who is always grumpy and barking orders and don’t degrade them with gossip behind their back. We smile at the single mother who is having to wrangle 2 screaming kids in the grocery store instead of rolling our eyes. We choose to pay respect, honor, and love forward into people who desperately need it in a harsh world.
We fulfill the law and pay our dues. Just like the movie, Pay it Forward, a single kind act or word has the potential to spread like wildfire, but it has to start somewhere.
So, even on this most unholy of Mondays I challenge you to find a way to fulfill the law of loving others. Smile instead of frowning and be a blessing to someone without them knowing.
Will you be the One to start the fire?
I hope you all have a fabulous week and get large tax returns, or at least not have to pay much!