The Royal Law of Love
If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you are doing well.” (James 2:8)
Some of you will be familiar with the name of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. It was his assassination that led to the outbreak of World War 1.
Another name, not so familiar to us, is Gavrilo Princip. He was the young Bosnian Serb who, at point blank range, shot dead the Archduke and his wife. Princip was only 19 years old when he made the attempt to free his country from Austro-Hungarian rule.
That one bullet ricocheted around the world to countries as far apart as Japan and the USA and, after four years of unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction, 16 million men, women and children had lost their lives.
As I thought about this recently, I pictured Princip on that fateful day in June 1928, striding out in front of the Archduke’s car, taking aim and pulling the trigger. Little did he know that his one action would be the spark that lit the fuse of World War 1.
Did he ever stop to consider the possible consequences of this action? I don’t believe he did. His zeal for a freed Bosnia-Serb alliance blinded him to the heinousness of his crimes.
A few years later, shortly before his death, talking to a psychiatrist, Princip said that he believed the World War was bound to happen, independent of his actions, and that he “cannot feel himself responsible for the catastrophe”. However, the truth remains that history could well have been written as a very different story if Princip had carefully considered the consequences prior to his action.
In the Bible, in 2 Samuel, we read of another man, whose actions led to the death of many. The selfishness of Absalom and his lust to be king, led to 20,000 of his soldiers losing their lives for a throne what was not rightfully his.
Like Princip, did Absalom ever stop to consider the consequences of his actions before he led the coup? I don‘t believe he did. He was driven by pride and ambition. Pride blinds a man to truth and causes him to act in selfish, self-centred ways.
Have you ever done something that you later regretted? Have you ever caused emotional or physical pain to another human being? I’m sure we all have. So, how can we prevent it from happening again? Jesus said,
‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’. (John 13:34-35)
James reinforced it when he said,
‘If you really fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ you are doing well.” (James 2:8)
So, quite simply, if we obey the Royal Law of Love we need never fear the consequences of our actions again.
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