By Hilary Scheppers
“Love is the fulfillment of the law.” – Romans 13: 9-10
On St. Valentine’s Day of lovey-dovey-ness, we have a communal opportunity to show our love for one another. Whether it be in the form of cards or memes, we send messages to the ones we love, however, there will be some people we miss. We simply can’t express our love to each individual who has touched our lives — all at once in one day!
Luckily, the Lord has called us to show our love to His people on more than one day a year. We are to love one another by His commandment every single hour.
“Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law…Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13: 8-10).
Jesus assures us in Matthew 5 that he has not come to abolish the law, but to “fulfill them.” He says that not one of Moses’ laws will become invalid because they all fulfilled by love.
So, I tried this exercise with the Ten Commandments. I flipped the negative “don’ts” into positive “do’s”
- DO have one God.
Love God. Allow yourself to have that one God and know Him. Thou shalt have God. Talk to Him, adore Him, offer your work to build His heavenly kingdom. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- DO honor the name of God.
Call out the Name of God on your lips with respect, honor, and love. Utter the name of the Lord only in the Highest purity of one’s whole inner being. Love the name of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Mother of God. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- DO love the Sabbath, and DO keep the Lord’s day holy.
Working on Sunday is easy to do because we are regularly concerned with accomplishing things to earn favor in our earthly-life. Reflect on your earthly-life. Are you resting your “busy-ness?” Set down the agenda, and rest in His word. Pray. Find acts of leisure that honor God: commune with friends and family, or serve our community. Use the hours of rest for basking in the notion that God carries you in the palm of His hand. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- DO show your father and mother love.
Whether it be easy — or difficult — find a way to show your folks how much you love them. Call your mother on the phone. Get lunch with your father. If your relationship has been broken, pray that God reveals a way for you to rebuild. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- DO protect life.
Tend to all life—in all its preciousness. From the creatures in your home, to your children, and your neighbors. How are you protecting, fostering, and promoting life? Love the life that you have been given. Jesus has paid the debt of your sin out of His love, so that you may have life. Jesus, love, is the fulfillment of the law.
- DO keep the peace of marriage.
Keep your vows strong. Empower a marriage with words of encouragement, or expression of harmony. Pray together with your spouse. Pray for your spouse to come. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- Do practice generosity.
Live in God’s abundance, in faith that the heavenly Father will provide. Remember, the Lord has given you everything you need, and in thanksgiving, we send these blessings forward. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- Do speak truthfully and favorably of thy neighbor.
Empower your friends to learn God’s love and mercy by showing that love and mercy to them. Be the dove, olive branch, rock, or shield that is Christ-like for friends or foes. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- Do keep the hearth of your thoughts pure.
Create boundaries for lust, so you are not led into temptation. Help yourself turn from thoughts of secret desire by loving in God’s way. His love remains the best protection against infringement of this Commandment, for one who truly loves always wills only what is best for the loved one, and therefore can never make unclean wishes or demands. If He is that for us, we can be that for others. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
- Do practice compassion.
Seeing what we lack can create envy. Envy for what others have is a terrible rut. Sometimes we can disguise this envy as compassion. A compliment coated in jealousy can be hurtful. Pray that the Lord grants you an opportunity to truly show your care, to truly show your tenderness and care. Love is the fulfillment of the law.
This Sunday, take these simple “love” commandments to heart
There is an opportunity in every moment to love and fulfill the commandments.
Prayer after reading: God of love, your tender care protects us always. Shepherd us in love, O God.
About the author:
Hilary Scheppers is a religious poet and writer from Minnesota. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in Humanities/Theology from Loyola Marymount University. Her poetry and nonfiction appear or are forthcoming in Parabola, Apofenie, Breadcrumbs, and elsewhere. Her favorite bird is either the mourning dove or the oropendola.