If you’ve been paying attention to the news, no matter the country you’re in, you may have noticed that things are a little crazy out there right now. People are rising up and protesting against dictators, news of wars and nuclear weapons is always coming out, and people seem to be holding as tightly to their power as they possibly can. And things seem to just be getting worse.
As I’ve been praying for the state of the world and for our nation, one verse keeps popping into my head.
“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 (NIV)
This verse can, on its face, seem like a contradiction—if we’re doing justice, then we’re not being merciful. If we’re being merciful, then we’re not being just. I get how humility and mercy can go together, but how does justice come into that mix? But with the Lord, these aren’t opposing ideas, they all work together in harmony.
Justice isn’t motivated by punishment, it is rooted in a desire for restoration.
Mercy isn’t a “get out jail free” card, it is a revelation of the love of God.
Humility isn’t self-deprecating, it is taking our God-given space—no more, no less.
Jesus is the perfect model of this verse for us: he acted justly, loved and shared mercy, and his whole life exemplified what it looks like to walk with God. His every action and interaction was motivated by a desire to restore a lost, hurting, and broken people to God who loves us. He never deviated from his restoration mission, never chose vengeance over mercy, and never gave into pride, though he had ample opportunity to do so.
I’m so grateful that Jesus went before us and showed us how we should live and interact with others in the world. We can choose to focus on restoration, loving others, and doing what he’s called us to do—no more and no less.
For the next few weeks (and probably at various points throughout the year), we’ll be diving into this one verse, examining what each element means and how we can apply them to our lives. Because our world is characterized by vengeance, punishment, and pride, I think we have an amazing opportunity as Christians to show a better way.
Have you ever thought that Micah 6:8 was a complete contradiction?
Which of these areas (doing justice, loving mercy, or walking humbly) do you think you struggle with the most?
Check out A Proverb A Day for more on what the book of Proverbs says about justice, mercy, and humbly walking with God.
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