December 14 I Monday
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” —Micah 6:8
How do we flesh out what we learn in church on Sunday during the rest of the week? The opening Scripture verse gives us a framework, but what does this look like practically in our day-to-day living? The concluding statement in the opening verse steers our understanding: to walk humbly with God involves walking humbly with others.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “humility” as “the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.” In other words, humility means seeing other people as more important than ourselves. Throughout Scripture, this boils down to how we treat others. To love our neighbours as ourselves means treating everyone with respect, compassion and care. To love our enemies means returning cruelty with kindness and anger with forgiveness. Exhibiting these sometimes seemingly impossible attitudes is evidence of true Christianity and the result of walking humbly with God.
To walk humbly with God also means to act justly. Justice in Micah 6:8 is not punishing people for their misdeeds, but ensuring the poor and the downtrodden are treated with the dignity they deserve as men and women created in the image of God. Psalm 146:7-9 reveals how God demonstrates this justice: “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.” As we come to know the heart of God, this kind of justice also becomes our concern.
To love mercy is a similar disposition. Mercy is about giving people what they do not deserve. It is a deep, heartfelt compassion aroused by the needs or distress of others in one who is in a position to relieve such need or distress. It is not sentiment, but action on behalf of and for those who do not have the resources to act for themselves.
Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles” (Matthew 5:41). By law, a Roman soldier could force a Jew to go a mile with him, and going that mile would be justice, but mercy is choosing to walk farther. It is giving beyond what is necessary, humbly putting others before ourselves to fulfill the church’s mission of showing God’s love, justice and mercy to the world. We put our feet firmly on what we believe to be true of God when we exhibit the love, justice and mercy He requires of us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make concerns for humility, dignity and worth real in my life. Shift my focus to consider others before myself, treating everyone with Your love, justice and mercy. Thank You, Lord.