We continued our study of James on Sunday by exploring the second half of chapter two, which has historically received the lion’s share of attention relative to the first half of the chapter (listen here). However, there’s a hidden gem in verse 8 that is too good to pass up:
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” -James 2:8
What a beautifully simple statement about faithful living! I wonder if we spend too much time trying to figure out how to really be faithful, that we miss the obvious: love the people around you and you’ll be on the right track!
Parenthood never ceases to amaze me. Every time I think I’ve got the whole thing figured out, our kids throw something new at us. Most of the time, they figure out some new way to bend the rules or drive each other crazy or drive us crazy. I promise that we love them as much as is humanly possible (really- I don’t think it’s possible for two parents to love their children any more than we do…it’s not bragging if it’s true, right?), but they also drive us to the brink of implosion from time to time.
Nonetheless, from time to time our kids will do or say something that reminds me that children can be so much better at being human than adults. Our son Jackson is obsessed with our neighbors. Any time he’s in the front yard and sees a car driving through our street, he starts yelling “Our neighfors! Our neighfors!” (He’s still working on saying “neighBors”). He just can’t help himself- he always wants to talk them or waive to them or play with their kids. But for whatever reason (laziness as much as anything), I try to divert his attention to something else so that we don’t get pulled into a long conversation or an awkward social scenario. Most of the time I’m just too tired or my mind is focused elsewhere and I don’t have the energy or desire to invest in the people who live next door.
I’m glad Jesus doesn’t say that to me.
I wonder if Jackson’s passion and excitement about our neighfors is what it looks like to “keep the royal law.” I wonder if Jackson’s obsession with getting to know his neighfors might be a living illustration of God’s heart for us, and what our hearts for our neighfors ought to look like…