Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8
Last week was yet another notable week in the life of our nation. Another Black man shot by a police officer. Many more protests. Two dead and one injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A teenage assailant. All under the backdrop of two political parties’ National Conventions.
If we are paying attention, we know these things are not unrelated to one another. If we are paying attention, we know that the actions and rhetoric around our politics guide the actions and rhetoric of our nation. Glorifying certain principles at the White House or on the acceptance speech stage indicates to our nation—to our children—what is good, and honorable, and righteous.
The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” I think Paul would agree, that there is no such thing as a religious life separate from a political life. We inhabit one body, one spirit, through which we interact with the world. If our aim is to fulfill God’s law—God’s command—then our first and guiding principle must ever be love.
As we listen to the news, and as we watch the Presidential campaign unfold, I pray we will be sure to bring our full selves to the conversation; that we will be sure to listen to our own hearts as they react and respond to what we hear. And, if love is not what guides us—if our motivations instead come from fear, or distrust, or hate—may we pray for God’s Spirit to work on us; to challenge us and change us, until our living witness may be nothing apart from love.