If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: ~James 2:8
What does it mean to love thy neighbor as thyself? We live in an age when people have the extreme of being narcissistic or having very low self-esteem. Our culture is strongly characterized by apathy and indifference to the needs of others. I think of the indifference Christians have to surrendering their lives for the proclamation of the gospel message. We are seeing less and less men surrendering to the call of God and a greater consummation with personal goals. A proper, biblical understanding of “as thyself” is critical to us fulfilling the royal law.
We see the evil.
Self-centeredness, selfishness, self-righteousness, or anything that exalts us is a sin. Paul told Timothy that in the last days “men shall be lovers of their own selves.” Arrogance, boastfulness, conceitedness, and egotism is putting one’s self over other people. It should never be the intent of a Christian to be the object and center of attention. Our culture is so bombarded with the self-promotion of celebrities, athletes, successful entrepreneurs, and people of fame that the tendency is to only think about “me.” Self-promotion has no issues with putting others down. Then, there is also the evil of self-destruction. This is when a person has negative and hurtful thoughts about himself. This kind of thinking can lead to an indifference to hurting other people. “As thyself” is not self-promoting nor self-destructive.
We see the exercise.
God made us to have a strong inner sense of self-care, self-nurturing, and self-respect. The first thing we should note is the importance of respect. We must practice the respect of others as we want them to respect us. This includes our practices and our words. The second thing is the importance of being caring, thoughtful, and loving. We should be conscientious of other people’s property, time, words, and input. We should go out of our way and demonstrate our concern through acts of kindness. The biggest need in our world is the exercise of kindness. The driving thought we must have is, “I will treat other people with the same care and respect that I want them to show to me.”
We see the exaltation.
The royal law demands that we love our neighbor as our self. James said that when we do this, we do well. First, this is being obedient to God’s Word and doing God’s will. Second, this is when we love others as God loves them. It is living out 1 Corinthians 13 in all of our relationships and contacts. Third, it encourages civility in all social circles. Fourth, it is the basis for sweet and powerful Christian fellowship. God gives His approval to Christians who live out the royal law. God makes His face to shine on marriages, families, fellowships, and all relationships that love others as our self. Are you doing this well?
We see the edification.
People do what people see. Positive leadership is when we demonstrate loving and thoughtful care of others. This influences others in living out the Christian life with a servant’s heart and a proactive care for others. This is how we provoke one another to love and good works. It is how people know that we are children of the King. Love others as thyself and fulfill the royal law.
Have an agape God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Exodus 25-27