Love is a powerful force. Jealousy, envy, and fear are also powerful forces.
Over time, love does win over jealousy and envy, but it often takes a lot of time, and the hurt and pain can take a long time to heal (if it ever does). It’s the short term where the effects are quick and brutal.
When Jesus returns to Galilee, he’s home. Like all homecomings, it was full of joy-filled laughs, parties. You know, the new prophet preaching the coming kingdom would be welcome to town. Except, as we know (and as we read), that wasn’t the case at all.
And it didn’t get any better. His brothers piled on. For those with siblings (or are parents of them), they probably understand. Brothers are brothers.
Family wounds or wounds of friends that are like family can be awful.
However, this is where Paul’s words come in. We don’t owe others anything (including vengeance) except love. Sounds kind of strange.
We often operate in life as we owe people something. That may be true. That is what Paul wants to reset in our hearts.
If we do things for others because we love them—truly, selflessly—that is revolutionary.
What about owing them? That seems rather odd. Why would we “owe” them? Perhaps it is because of whose we are.
Lord Jesus, help us be people of love, because you first loved us. Amen.
Love as owed. What is your immediate response to that?