(Thoughts on Love) Study Notes for James 2:8

Your calling is to fulfill the royal law of love as given to us in this Scripture: “You must love and value your neighbor as you love and value yourself!” James 2:8

Today I took a different approach in my study, or rather God took me down a specific path I did not plan for. After reading through James 2, I kept coming back to verse 8. All the other verses, and truly the entire Bible comes back to love, since it is the ultimate love story. I know some will say how can it be love when it says this or that…? And I agree that many parts of the Bible are confusing and disturbing especially when read in part. All I can do is testify to the power of Christ in my life. By reading the scriptures and praying for wisdom, I receive humbly, and share. So, here is my share for today:

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a commandment. It is Royal Law. By not doing so, I sin against God. So, who is my neighbor? Every. Single. Human. Each person I encounter should be a recipient of this love that lives in me. But there is judgement that rises, pride, hurry, and partiality is shown. And the truth is, I have been taught to love conditionally. My eyes have been socially trained to recognize false beauty as valuable. As the only good. All based on appearances, which can be thick and effective at hiding the true heart.

Look at what has been happening to our children. Bullying has become an epidemic. Look what has happened in the political arena, hate spews from both sides. Media pours out perfect images and slanted ideas of what is good and acceptable in the world, and everyone is saying something different. These images and misleading stories from humans on a platform cause us to hate our own reflection in the mirror, or we hate others. We tear down people who are different than us to build ourselves up. We spend countless dollars on creating a better image of ourselves. We cringe at the sight of ourselves in a natural photo without filters. Envy and judgement rises in our hearts every day. We are in bondage to the pride that holds us here.

Studies show that isolation and feelings of loneliness are on the rise. The only way to bridge the gap of judgement and pride is to address the isolation. The self-made platforms must be ripped away. We must stand with feet planted firmly on the earth and remember who we were created to be. We need to reach out and touch people. Spend less time in our little worlds and serve people out there in the big one. To get past partiality is the get past appearances. Whether we are drawn toward or away in judgement, whether attracted or repulsed, we must get past the initial decision and reaction, unless it is to show love.

I am learning to see the one who looks like they have it all together probably doesn’t, and the one who looks to be worse off may hold the very peace I am seeking. The only way to know for sure is to enter in and interact. This is the only way to get to their true heart. Communication leads to understanding. Reaching out to those in our path is the only way to find out what someone needs. Maybe they need money, maybe it’s spending time, either way I know everyone needs love. This is how Jesus lived. This is how I too must live if I want true peace and joy. Humanity suffers where there is hate and it thrives under the pouring out of love.

Lord, Show me to love like You do. Forgive me for my judgemental glances and selfish assumptions about people. Forgive me for my pride. Soothe my wounded heart so I can see past my own pain. Let humility reign in my heart and let love reign on my lips. Help me to keep Godly boundaries to wisely know what is helpful and harmful. Show me what it means to throw pearls before swine and yet still show love. Speak so I can hear You and slow me down so I can listen. Give me courage to step beyond my borders and safely walk with you in grace with eyes open to the needs around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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