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Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?-Micah 6:8

What does God require of us, but to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord our God? I think about this verse, often. And I think, if we did these things in our walk with Christ, how much different we would be, and how different we would see situations and people.

What would it look like if we would seek justice? What is justice? Justice isn’t equity. Justice is everyone getting what they deserve based on their actions. It’s also making sure that what is right is upheld, versus being silent on, or praising what is wrong. We should not be silent about wrongs being done, we should not be silent about people destroying themselves and others. We should desire that justice (what is just) is done. All too often, people desire to play the victim and demand justice while, at the same time, they are acting unjustly. Playing the victim while victimizing others is not justice. Everyone being judged, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, by the content of their character leads to justice.

But at the same time, we should also seek to love mercy. Mercy is judgement stayed, rather than getting what we deserved. It is staying conviction on someone who is repentant, but also forgiving those who will never change. It is not letting someone get a pass on their repeated behaviors, but it is a corrective measure that avoids destruction. Jesus gives us a great example of this in the father of the prodigal son. The father, according to the law, could have had his son stoned to death. The son humiliated him, and dishonored him. The father could have enslaved his son in accordance to the law, and his own son’s wishes. But the father covered the son’s shame in his own robe, brought him from death to life (putting shows on his feet) and restored him to complete sonship, with all rights and authority included, even though he had squandered it all (the ring on the finger). Jesus is saying the Father shows us mercy when we deserve Justice (and bear in mind, those who refuse will, indeed be shown justice, but for now, are allowed to continue on as they are, a mercy in and of itself).

And this leads us to walking humbly with the Lord our God. In the movie, Rudy, Father Cavanaugh, trying to console Rudy who is beside himself at another rejection from Notre Dame, tells the young man “Son, in 35 years of religious study, I have only come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I'm not Him.” And that is an important distinction. In order for me to walk in humility with God, I have to recognize His ways are higher than my own. He gets to determine my steps, and call the shots. I am to act with humble service, as Jesus did, toward Him and all others. And this walks hand in hand with Justice: I humbly accept that God is right to judge, and when He disciplines me, I am being corrected, and when He allows me to go through trials and tribulations, I am learning to depend on His strength rather than my own. I also, in humility, come to depend on God’s mercy: I do not deserve Jesus, I deserve Hell, but God in His mercy did all the work through His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary and through that empty tomb in the Garden.

So let us seek justice, love mercy, and strive to walk humbly with the Lord our God. It will change everything.

Micah 7

Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered, as when the grapes have been gleaned: there is no cluster to eat, no first-ripe fig that my soul desires. The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen, of your punishment, has come; now their confusion is at hand. Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house. But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication. Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will look upon her; now she will be trampled down like the mire of the streets.

A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended. In that day they will come to you, from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain. But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds.

Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your inheritance, who dwell alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them graze in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old. As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show theme marvelous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf; they shall lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds; they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall be in fear of you.

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

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