To Do Justice
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
I was reading this verse last night, and meditating on it in light of all that has been going on in our world lately- coronavirus, the rioting and looting due to social misunderstandings of racism, political unrest, and so much more. All these things make me just want to hide in my house and not do anything. This, of course, is a selfish response. However, what do I do? My first response (and any Christian’s first response) was to go to the only One who has answers for everything: God.
In reading this passage (which gets used a lot for various things), I began to wonder if this passage means more than what we actually think it does. If so, and we truly understand it in light of God’s truth, and then live the truth out in our lives, how different would our world would really be today, tomorrow…?
We read this first part: “do justice”- this certainly does mean to do things which are just. But, in light of current events (and past events), doing “justice” means more than simply satisfying a raging fire of “injustice” due to racism, etcetera. Doing justice also means all “injustices” against God should receive their just due. So, lying, stealing, looting, destroying people’s property, anger, speaking evil of others and authority- basically ALL WRONG, SINFUL THINGS- should receive justice. And, according the Scripture, the only payment or just act for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The battles waging in our world and in our country right now are expressions of the sinful wars raging in our hearts. Satan is doing battle for our very souls, and he is loving all this unrest, fear, anger, and “injustice”. Our souls are in jeopardy when we choose to ignore the fact that we think our sins do not deserve the just penalty that God says they do. But, the truth is: only God is truly just. And, justice is required for all sin. This puts us all in a very uncomfortable place, does it not?
But, there’s more: “to love mercy”. I read a great article on how this verse is not just talking about doing merciful or kind things to receive justice. NO. That’s not what this passage is saying. This passage is saying that God, instead of killing us all right off for our sins has provided mercy and kindness to us IF WE REPENT of our sin. So, waging war against our idea of “injustice” is futile if we do not first take care of the “injustices” we are personally living out against God every day. God has provided the way for this injustice to be eliminated. Earlier in the book of Micah (and throughout the entire Bible!), God is showing us how our sin has separated us from Him and deserves to be punished (justice), but God loved us so much he sent his only Son to pay the just penalty for all our sins: death (John 3:16-17). He is a faithful, merciful, loving God. What this passage is saying is that we can truly demonstrate justice when we live out the covenant love God has showed to us. Instead of crying out for the penalty of other people’s sins, we are to first look at our own lives and recognize the faithful love of God in not giving us the true justice we ourselves deserved. We then take that faithful love of God and live it out in the way we honor and obey him and, thus, in the way we treat others- because we love him!
And finally, “to walk humbly with your God”. To recognize we all deserve death puts us all on the same human plane. We are all created in God’s image; we have all sinned and all deserve death; we all have the opportunity to experience God’s love. Therefore, in response to God’s truth, what will you and I do? Have you recognized the justice you deserve for your injustice to God? In recognition of that, have you then tasted of his faithful love for you in spite of your sin (and continued sin)? Do you then, in light of being humanly unable to live this passage out, beg God to help you so you can, “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with [him]”?
He has told us what to do. Now, will we obey?
(Link to article mentioned above: https://www.riverviewbaptist.net/pastor-levis-blog/2018/9/27/commonly-misunderstood-passages-do-justice-love-mercy-and-walk-humbly-with-god )