The Royal Law – A Family Exercise

“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).

One mother I know had a little notice posted on her dining room wall. It read, “All I ask is that you treat me no differently than you would the Queen.” That’s a simple request; but if we want others to treat us like royalty, then we must first be prepared to treat them in the very same way.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” The order here is significant. We sometimes paraphrase this verse by saying, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” However, this misses an important but overlooked ingredient. The order of Matthew 7:12 indicates that we must first decide all the various ways we would want others to treat us, and then resolve to do those same things for them.

This would be a useful exercise to do with your family. Have each one compile a list of how he or she would like to be treated by others. We must be careful, however, not to make this a list of personal expectations because no one can ever live up to such a list. Expectations destroy relationships. Even with the best intentions, we will still disappoint, offend, and hurt each other – especially those we live with and love the most.

The purpose of this list is to ascertain how we can and should treat others even if we are never treated in these same ways. Let’s higher the expectations we have of ourselves and lower our expectations of others. Let’s purpose to do good, not for what we can get from others in return, but for how we can demonstrate Christ’s love to them.

Morris Hull, Home Life Ministries