Paul says to owe no one anything, except to love one another. If you were to die tomorrow after indebting yourself today, who would pay off what you owe? Better not to accrue debt in the first place. But should you love your neighbor as yourself today and tomorrow be buried and return to the dust, you will die free. Freedom is not to be confused with license, because license is only the freedom to obey incentives and passions, plans and inclinations. Freedom is the freedom to love and expect nothing in return. God is free, God freely loves, and God could not possibly expect anything in return because we, as created beings in a created universe, have nothing of our own to give.
God gives because God loves, and we are incapable of giving anything back but the love we were given to begin with.
Jesus says the only way to enter into life is to keep the commandments. A young man, rich, asked him, “Teacher, what must I do to have everlasting life?” and Jesus replied, “Keep the commandments. Do not steal, do not rape, do not murder. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man had done all of this, so Jesus said, “Then sell all your possessions, give the money to the poor, take up your cross, and follow me.” and the young man went away very sad, for he had many possessions. What Jesus said there was that if the young man had truly kept the commandments then all he had left to give back were the material things he had accumulated during his stay in this life. The only thing left to give up were the things it never mattered to have in the first place.
I think that if I were truly honest with myself, I would find that I don’t really believe in a world that exists outside of myself, and this is why it is such a terrifying notion to me to die. I fear death because I fear everything else will end when I do. This is very selfish. But should I love my neighbor as myself, then my life would be filled with a celebration of everyone around me such that when the time for all good things to come to an end finally came, I wouldn’t notice. After all, I won’t be around after my death to mourn it.
Consider the lillies of the field. They don’t work, they don’t spin, yet I tell you that Solomon in all his splendor, Xerxes in his possession of an empire, Rome at the height of its civilization was not so finely attired as one of these. Now if God so beautifully clothes the grass today and tomorrow it is thrown into the fire, will God not all the more clothe you?
“I say to you this, do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will bring worries of its own.”
It was written that you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I tell you this, love your enemy as yourself and pray for those who persecute you; for blessed are you when people hate you and revile you and bring all kinds of evil upon your name.
Be bold and love, because you were born from love and it is all you had when you entered this world. You will still die, certainly, but you won’t notice it for the love you express to your neighbor.
If anything, all that will remain of us is love.