Monday, September 19, 2011

Justice, Mercy, and Humility

In our gathering on Sunday, we were looking at Micah 6:8. This verse tells us that the thing that God requires of us is to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." We talked about how the first priority is to do justice within our relationships. As I thought about the discussion, I thought about the command that Jesus gave us to love one another as he loved us. I believe these two passages are essentially the same.

Jesus calls his followers to love others as he loves us. Think about how Jesus treats us. He always acts justly toward us, he always does what is right for and to us. We many times think of justice as making sure someone gets what they deserve. In the world's system, that is the definition, but even that doesn't happen much of the time. The phrase "do justice" can also be translated "do what is right." Sometimes doing what is right doesn't fit with how most folks normally see justice. Sometimes doing what is right means sacrificing our rights, our opinions, our comfort, our life. But doing what is right is a part of loving others as Jesus loves us.

Doing justice in our relationships will require loving mercy. As we seek to love others as Jesus loves us, there may be conflicts. Relationships are messy. There is no way to escape it. In order to love people we will have times when we have to love mercy in order to do what is right. Think of the mercy that Jesus showed, and continues to show. That is the same mercy we are to love and to extend to those around us. Showing mercy is always right.

The third part of the verse tells us to walk humbly with God. Humility is also a part of doing what is right and loving others. To love as Jesus loves us can not be done with a proud heart. We can not go to another and do what is right, and extend mercy to them if we are putting ourselves and our interests first. We must have the same attitude as Jesus. Although he is the King of Kings, he humbled himself and served those around him while he was here on this earth. We also are called to serve those around us, rather than seek to be served. That takes a humble walk with God.

May God help us to love each other as Jesus loves us by doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

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