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The Royal Rule

James 2:1-13

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?

Listen, dear friends. Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-out as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges. This kingdom is promised to anyone who loves God. And here you are abusing these same citizens! Isn’t it the high and mighty who exploit you, who use the courts to rob you blind? Aren’t they the ones who scorn the new name—”Christian”—used in your baptisms?

You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, “Don’t commit adultery,” also said, “Don’t murder.” If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.

Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.

Note:

I hope you’re ready for your inbox to be filled with posts again! It’s writing time again. I’m excited to return to my daily habit and I hope that you will find these brief devotional writings helpful too.

This year I’m not going to post these devotionals as widely on my personal social media. I am asking you to consider sharing these on your personal platforms if you find them helpful and beneficial.

Talk and like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. What’s the rule? “Love others as you love yourself.”

It really is that simple.

What if every day we lived that out in our bodies? Not just with words but in action and deed. What if we practiced loving well as a way of life?

I have a secret to tell you: More of you do so than any of us realize.

Over the last 18 months I have been amazed at seeing how people practice loving well every single day. There is no limit to the love that is shown in this world. We just don’t hear about it because it is not exciting news and it doesn’t get clicks or likes.

But, I am convinced the majority of you reading this do your best every single day to live according to the Royal Rule of Scripture.

So, wait, how does what I just said make any sense with the my question at the beginning? Simple, we need to become aware of the reality that we are not alone in loving well. We need to realize that the people around us are trying just as hard as we are to love well. When we do, we can engage more people as those who we want to extend compassion and empathy toward.

Too much of what fills our newsfeeds is outrage, snark, sarcasm, and biting critique.

I was telling my Mom the other day that more and more I find myself exhausted by snark. It’s never ending. People can’t simply enjoy the beauty in front of them. We have to mock it or add some snarky comment. I find myself doing this all the time. I get a laugh from some and that confirms the behavior in me. I so desperately want to stop.

Part of learning to love well and to live out the Royal Rule of Scripture is to learn to celebrate with those who are celebrating and to weep with those who weep. This means that I have to take my sarcastic, snarky comment and capture it, stick it in my back pocket, and then let it go. For a time I was doing this on Twitter and saving the snark as drafts. I was going to release it all on Festivus (a made up holiday from the television show Seinfeld where part of it is an airing of grievances). Thankfully, Twitter somehow deleted all my drafts and the snark was gone forever.

How about you? What are the steps you need to take in learning to live out the Royal Rule of Scripture? Sound off in the comments and let’s learn to “love others as yourself” together.

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