Saturday, February 16, 2013

Royal Law

"If you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself; you are doing well" -James 2:8

I do not know how many times in a day I say, "Leah, treat others how you want to be treated..."  My scholarly wisdom usually has to do with Leah pushing Autum, Autum biting Leah...Leah getting mad at Autum biting her....and in I swoop before the battle ensues to hair pulling!

What's amazing about this is I am reading a book that discusses this very topic.  How this one commandment reverberates through the Old Testament and the New Testament, and provides a keyhole glimpse into the entire law.  This verse has much more depth to it than stopping 2 kids from pulling each others' hair.  In fact, in Leviticus it is called the "Royal Law"...(hmmm, going to have to get that posted somewhere in the house!)  But what I'm realizing even more is that it means exactly what it means...word for word.  Let me explain, as I was reading this I realized it doesn't say "Love your neighbor as much as you love your kids..."  "Love your neighbor as your favorite sports team..."  So in my mind I compared that to "Love your neighbor as much as you love anything important in your life...that you spend the most time thinking about, that you put the most effort and expense into...then it must be pretty important, right??

No, it says "Love your neighbor as y.o.u.r.s.e.l.f.."
UGH.  All I know, especially as a woman, it is stinkin' hard to even like myself...let alone, LOVE myself.  It goes so far as to pick apart details about how I was created to look, be, sound, feel, do...most days I'm just not lovin' myself.  It's a work in progress, that requires lots of Scripture reciting to expel the fiery darts of the wicked...the thoughts that creep in...redirection at its finest.  Heck! I should be an expert at that by now, with a 2 and 3-year old in the house...but it doesn't come so easy for me. 

So as if that's not enough to swallow...I'm to love my friends, my family, and base my future relationships I. love. myself...  WHOOOAA!  So as I'm reading this I'm feeling guilty, thinking I'd never treat my neighbor the way I treat myself...ever.  I wouldn't think about them the same way I think about how I look somedays.  I'd never say to them what I self-talk to myself through my inner thoughts.  Noooo way!  So what in the heck does this mean?  I kept reading...because I was confused.  How do I love my neighbor as I love myself?  It just doesn't make sense.

What I do know is that God created us to love and care for ourselves, we are wired to think/work that way.  In literal thinking, most of us pick our hand up off a hot surface upon realizing it burns, right?

Then I read this line:  "imagine how mangled our bodies would be if we took care of them, the same way we tend to our hearts." 


Soooo you are saying...I have a heart problem...and I have a selfish problem...  Obviously.  Not a self-love---as described by modern psychologists today---problem.  I realize I wouldn't be spending all this time obsessing about myself, my looks, my thoughts, and making all of this whole verse about "ME"  if I didn't LOVE. ME.  It's just a distorted love.  An ugly, deceitful, yucky kind of love, that spews out of my sinful heart...leading me to believe untruths.

And this is where it all came together for me...
LOVING OTHERS....cures favoritism and selfishness...plain.  and.  simple.

So you are telling me that...loving others turns out to be liberating to me.  It is a cure for my broken heart.  For my "self-love" issues.

It makes perfect sense.  I know these things, yet I didn't know them.
With me?

I know that whenever I am around people, helping someone out, smiling at a stranger, leading others, learning from others, giving of my time and heart is full.  It fills my soul.  Makes my cup runneth over. 

And this is now what I get...because it is taking the focus off of ME. 
And here this whole time I truly, honestly thought I had a problem with 'loving myself.'  When all along I had a problem with selfishly focusing on 'myself.'  TOO much.

It seems so backwards.  Yet so simple.  The greatest commandment is this, "to love your neighbor as yourself" is the perfect law of freedom.  Like the author said "it is how all sides win."

I get it.
Wow.  Now I'll have to come up with some other 'golden rule' to correct my kids' wrongdoing...this verse has way to much depth to it to be applied to pushing and shoving...

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