Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
In the world around us it seems that love is an option; you can choose to love people and pursue their friendship or simply choose to ignore them. One person recently described to me the difference between city and village living in this way; in the village most people seem to say hello to you when you out walking – in the city you are universally ignored. For the Christian, love, recognition and acceptance are not options but part of the ‘Royal Law’. Paul makes exactly the same point in Romans 13:8 where he writes ‘Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbour, you will fulfil the requirements of God’s law.’ Love is an obligation. It is not enshrined in the laws of our land, but it is deeply embedded in the royal law of the heavenly King. It is the basic principle underpinning every other law or requirement of God. Love is no mere sentimentality: it has the same qualities as the love of Jesus. ‘This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. ‘ (John 15:12) His love was perfectly inclusive, and challengingly sacrificial. In one sense this kind of love was a new commandment in that Jesus set the quality standard ‘So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.‘ (John 13:34) His life is the model to follow. In another sense however, love is nothing new; we find it in the Old Testament too. Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord. It is not surprising that Jesus had to explain the all-inclusive idea of being a neighbour when he was asked about it. Hence the parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10 with its all-encompassing inclusivity.