“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:”James 2:7
Every morning I wake up and at some point I look in the mirror. I make sure my hair is combed, and I check my teeth to make sure they are brushed well. I take time to get ready everyday, and I make sure I am somewhat presentable. I do these things because I love myself and want to take care of myself. I’ve got the loving myself part down pat, but it’s the loving others part I sometimes struggle with. Ex-NFL player, Terrell Owens once said, “I love me some me.” I’m sure that sentiment goes beyond just Terrell.
Rebekah and I purchased a house when we were first married and we had neighbors on both sides of us. The neighbors on our right changed several times, but we wished the neighbor on our left would do the same. I could fill a book with colorful stories of our neighbor, but I will choose a simple few.
Our neighbor built a pool in his backyard and did not want to wait for it to fill up with only his hose. He tried to climb over the wall to use my hose to help expedite the process, but my German Shepherd would not have it. It was cool to have a neighbor with a pool, until we realized we were a live audience to endless games of volleyball and Marco Polo that went late into the night and into the next morning. We were entertained by DJs we didn’t have to pay for, and we were able to recycle some things as debris found its way into our yard.
Our neighbor was infamous. He made appearances on the radio for being hostile at Little League games and the SWAT team paid him three separate visits. He was quite popular in the neighborhood, but I far from loved him. The Phoenix police also paid him frequent visits, and his whole family seemed to be a hot mess. Packages would go missing from my doorstep, and I would have to go to his house to retrieve them. I would say there was not a lot of trust I had in my neighbor as he simply took what he felt he wanted. We lived in an alternate reality world and there was never a dull moment on our block. After several years, my neighbor was evicted and I never saw him again. I did not display the “royal law” as described in this verse towards him, but rather jumped in glee at his eviction. I failed in loving my physical neighbor as myself and in many instances my heart held hatred for him.
Do you fulfill the royal law? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Do you struggle with those who are difficult? God has placed these people in our lives for a reason and a purpose. We are the light of the world, and we are commanded to love others as we love ourselves. I am not sure of the impact I could have had if I would have only loved my neighbor as myself. People are always watching and there is no hiding that you are a Christian when you love others in spite of how they treat you. The point is not to “love you some you”, but to “love them some them”. Do you want to do well? Do you want to be pleasing to the Father? Do you see your neighbor as God sees them, or do you just see your dislike for them? May we never forget the verse, “But God [demonstrates] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Live the royal law and do well to love others as you love yourself.