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.
Love Your Neighbor
Are you doing right by God? Does God generally approve of how you live your life? These can be common questions we all contemplate. The apostle James provides a litmus test to know if we are doing right before God: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That sounds simple enough. Love your neighbor. That seems doable. We can hold the door open for people, mow our elderly neighbor’s yard, be pleasant and wish people well.
It can be easy to feel like we love our neighbor so well that we are right with God. The trouble, however, is found in the phrase: “as yourself.” Do we love others that way? Not so much. It is one thing to hold the door open for someone. It is an entirely different to love someone the way we love ourselves. To love someone that way costs time and effort. It means putting their needs before my own. Too often, we do not have the desire or the energy to love other people that way. Worse, we perhaps discover that we do not love all people equally. Clearly, we cannot be right before God based on how we love our neighbors.
Thankfully, there is one who did right before God. One who always loved his neighbors perfectly. One who never played favorites. His name is Jesus. And the proof of his love for his neighbor is found on the cross. In giving his life on the cross, Jesus loved his neighbors. All of them. He didn’t only die for the ‘good’ people. He didn’t only die for the ones who would love him back. He died for all of us. He died for you.
You are Jesus’ neighbor, and he has already demonstrated his perfect love for you. You now have an opportunity to thank him for all that he has done by showing that same love to your neighbors.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the awesome love that saved me from my sins. Empower me with your love, to love my neighbors equally—with the same kind of love that you have shown me. Amen.
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