He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
Except to be just, and to love (and to diligently practice) kindness (compassion),
And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?
Micah 6:8 (Amplified Bible)
There is a parable in Matthew 18:21-35 about a creditor who had his fellow servant thrown into jail because he was unable to pay his debt. As a standalone statement you may feel the creditor was justified, but the parable actually began by describing how the same creditor was also heavily indebted to his master and how he begged for forgiveness and was fully pardoned.
While the Messiah was using the parable to teach us about forgiveness, it also demonstrates injustice in human actions and how people are treated by each other with callous threats and oppression, as if we are not equals. This attitude is as evident in our world today as it was in the bible days and in history books pre-dating the 2,000 year old gospel of Matthew. The injustice was carried out in the dusty streets, in front of others and the perpetrator acted as if there was no other power higher than his judgment in that moment.
In this imagery, take note of the other parallel – there was a response from those who witnessed the injustice. There was outrage. And there was action. Matthew 18:31 shows that the witnesses used their anger to pursue a higher justice in the defense of their fellow man. Today I pray that our anger and frustration at the sight of cruelty will not only boil over and spew out at a society that allows injustices to be perpetuated over and over again. May we not only shake our heads in despair but let us take it further than speaking to each other. May we place our lament at the feet of our True Master and ask that justice be meted out in the way that He sees fit. By entreating our Father we will no longer need to carry our anger and sorrow until it festers into bitterness and unforgiveness, igniting hatred fueled by fear. We witness, we speak out and we also pray for justice and for protection.
Our experiences embolden us to do what is required, “to act justly, love kindness and walk humbly before Yahweh our God” (Micah 6:8). The smallest act of kindness, the determination to refrain from judgment of the “other” and the conscious refusal to mete out self-righteous responses to perceived threats will keep us humble, reminding us that we are all fellow human beings, we are valued and valuable in the eyes of Yahweh.
Perhaps we cannot change the entire world but we can certainly change our behavior and perhaps kindness will be reciprocated and there will be less injustice in the world.
Our key verse says, we know what Yahweh is asking of us. He will not be placated with gifts and pious posturing while the poor and needy, the oppressed and helpless cry out for mercy unheeded. We must do what we can with the gifts we have in addition to lending our voices to a prayer for justice. We can determine to never perpetuate the actions that rob other human beings of their rights – to life, to freedom and to love. We must walk in justice, in love and in humility. It is only then that we are truly walking with the KING.
Today I walk in justice, compassion and humility
Heavenly Father, You are a just God. As we bring our frustrations and cares to You, we appreciate that You are able to advocate on our behalf and for the people who are helpless, hurt and oppressed. We ask that You forgive us as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. We relinquish our need for vengeance into Your almighty hand. May we continue to live in the way that pleases You and that our lives will influence change in others and in the world. It is our desire to honor You, so we ask that You show us the way to go, how to heal and where to find solace in the times of distress. Give us the courage to speak the truth in love, to act justly and to walk with You in humility, recognizing that we are equal in Your sight. May Your love protect us and keep us in peace. Amen.
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