“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

// Romans 13:10

What do Sonny and Cher have in common with Annie Lennox and Al Green?

If you guessed questionable hairstyle choices, then yes, you’re correct. But for you groovy 1970s-1980s music aficionados, you might also recall that each pair of singers covered the chart-topping hit song, “Put A Little Love in Your Heart.” This love anthem, widely covered by several other artists throughout the years, shares the same message found in Romans 13.

The song starts off, “Think of your fellow man, lend him a helping hand, put a little love in your heart.” Similarly, in verses 8-10 of Romans 13, Paul encourages us to love others as ourselves and to do no harm to our neighbors. He understood that when sin entered the world, it created division in mankind. God created the Ten Commandments in order to unify His people, to reverse the division that sin had caused – and exactly half of the commandments are about how we should treat each other. He commands us to not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet our neighbor [Exodus 20:13-17]. Paul understood that obedience of these laws simply meant loving each other, and as the song echoes, thinking “of your fellow man.”

Paul speaks of a love that fulfills the law, a love that is unbiased, preferential and sacrificial. God sacrificing His Son for us, “so that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life,” is the ultimate example of this love [John 3:16]. Since Christ loved so sacrificially and gave up His life for us, we should be empowered to share that same love with others.

Putting our neighbors first is sacrifice, but it’s also an act of worship. In our daily lives, this love looks like sacrificing our will in order to forgive someone who’s wronged us. This love looks like leaving the Saturday night party a little earlier, to be ready and prepared to welcome His people into church the next morning. This love looks like sacrificing a tenth of everything we earn because we believe a new building will reach more people with His endless love.

This love pierces our consciousness and challenges us to go above and beyond. When we’re emboldened to share it with our neighbors, “the world will be a better place, for you and me, you just wait and see.”

// Rasheeda Winfield