Long ago the Beatles sang, “All you need is love.” Even longer ago, St. Paul said, “. . . for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8b NRSV). I don’t think Lennon and/or McCartney were trying to paraphrase the apostle but they came up with a pretty good phrase nonetheless.
I was struck in a new way by the texts this Sunday, in particular, the connection between Matthew 18:15-20 and Romans 13:8-14. As I mentioned in both sermons, I don’t have a good history with this part of Matthew. It was frequently used as a weapon in church-y fights when I was a kid and even up to my early twenties. The passage seemed to be used to attack people more often than not and sometimes, both sides of a dispute used it on the other. This week I saw how part of the text is actually an example of how people in a dispute can treat each other well and even lovingly.
The other thing striking me this week was the phrase I quoted above, “. . . for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” It was as if I had no idea it could be this straightforward; love other people and the law is taken care of. Wow!
I don’t know if any of my insights will resonate with you or if you have already thought these things, regardless, I’d love to hear what you think.