Saturday 6 July 2019 (New Living Translation)
Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”But if you favour some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
James concludes by reminding us of Mark 12:29-31 where Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and that the second greatest is to love our neighbour as ourselves.
James challenges us that when we love our neighbours, we shouldn’t pick and choose who we love and only love those who are easy to love or those who can offer us something in return. By doing so, we are missing the point completely and by not loving one person, we are breaking the commandment to love our neighbour.
This challenges us to ask ourselves whether we are serving and loving people who cannot repay us. It makes us think of how we are loving people who are difficult. These people often need our love the most. Jesus told us that loving our neighbour is the most important commandment, second only to loving God. As we grow as Christians and wish to grow to be more like Jesus, loving our neighbours should be increasingly more important to us.
James reminds us that we will be judged by the law that sets us free and that through Jesus we have received God’s mercy. When we have a choice between judging someone and being merciful towards them, let’s recall what Jesus has done for us that allows us to live in freedom and always choose mercy.
Let’s live as people who have been set free and are pointing others to the freedom found through Jesus. Let’s throw off our prejudices, favouritism and judgement and show the love of God to all people, truly loving our neighbour as ourselves.
Bekah Adams, Sawyers Church Ministry Team