Mississippi News

Lynn Jones: Living under the Royal Law

By Lynn Jones

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s constant refrain was, “I don’t get no respect.” To illustrate, he said, “My dog went to the door and barked. I opened the door to let him out, but he didn’t move. He didn’t want out. He wanted me to leave.”

We live in a world where it is hard to get respect. People tend to get wrapped up in themselves and to lose all sensitivity to the problems of others.

Even in a hospital it is often like that. Have you ever noticed that people who visit the sick often enjoy talking about their own sickness more than inquiring about the condition of the person they are visiting? In fact a hospital room has been defined as a place where a patient’s friends gather to tell him their symptoms.

Lynn Jones

In the face of this kind of inherent self-interest, are Christians any different? We ought to be. To be different is not a legalistic requirement of our faith, but it is a moral requirement.

We do not live under the Old Testament Law, and yet we live under the “law.” Paul said to the Galatians: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

The letter to the Galatians was a long blast against the futility of trying to be right with God by keeping the Old Testament Law. In its place, Paul declared that a new “law” is to control our lives. It is the “law of Christ” which compels us to carry each other’s burdens. 

In his quest for a Christianity that was evidenced in works as well as words, James made the same point. He said, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right” (James 2:8). 

This law, which compels us to action, is no common rule for life. It is the highest law, a “royal law.” It demands the best of us.

A lot of people talk about love and concern, but Jesus did more than that. He demonstrated it. He came to us when we were dying and died for us. It is the ultimate example of self-giving love.

Now we are instructed to carry each other’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. It is the royal law!

Chrissa Palmer of Charlotte, North Carolina has appointed herself a fairy godmother. She carries colored stars in her purse, and when she sees someone doing something nice for someone else, she takes out a star, goes over to the person, sticks it on the front of the person’s shirt, and says, “You get a star for what you just did.”  Palmer said she had never had anyone refuse one of those stars. I wonder if our kindness and love would ever cause her to give us one of those stars.

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: kljones45@yahoo.com.

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