Jms. 2:8-9 “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers,” (Jms. 2:8-9).
“I love me. I think I’m grand. I go the movies and I hold my hand.” Silly little song! But we do love ourselves. Even if we know we aren’t grand, we still love ourselves better than anyone else. Even if the concept we hold of ourselves is a low one, we look out for ourselves first, protect ourselves, want the best and biggest for ourselves whether or not we deserve it. God calls us out of that self-absorption into a love for others that includes ALL others.
Our “neighbor” is everyone. The story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10 shows us that when he takes care of the poor guy who’s been robbed and beaten, a man who lives nowhere near him and who, in fact, is his cultural enemy.
I am to love all people to the depth that I love myself! That is patently impossible unless God’s Spirit has given new life and provides the motivation as well as the power.
What tone do I like to hear in the voice of one speaking to me? That’s the tone I am to use when speaking to others. What consideration do I want shown to me on the roadway? That’s the consideration I am to show to other drivers. What level of honesty do I want in my interpersonal relationships? That’s the level I am to provide for others, unless my standard is lower than God’s.
When I “do unto others as I would have them do unto me,” I am doing right. When I pick and choose whom I will love like that, I sin. The call is really to give myself away without expecting return. It’s easy to love those who love me back. But what God through James is calling me to is a love that doesn’t notice whether or not the person reciprocates. Just love and bless people. What’s that bumper sticker? Random acts of kindness…