Today’s Reading: Proverbs 11-13, Psalm 8, Romans 13
Do you remember the teacher that introduced you to the acrostic KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid? I honestly don’t remember who taught it to me, but I use it with my staff often. In my world, keeping it simple means focusing on what the audience wants to know rather than what my staff wants to tell them (hint, hint…they usually don’t care how you negotiated the price down, just that you saved them 20%)!
Our text in Romans is a great example of keeping it simple. In chapter 12 and 13 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he provides godly direction on a number of subjects – serving others in the church, practicing hospitality, living in peace and harmony with others, submitting to governing authorities and paying taxes. Mid-way through chapter 13 he pulls out the KISS card and boils everything down to one simple principle – love your neighbor as yourself.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10).
Wow, this was simple. Was it new theology with Paul? Of course not. Paul was just summarizing Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 22. If you truly love God and love people, everything else falls into place. Keep it simple stupid.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40).