Micah 6:8 has requirements for us, “He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” That is all we have to do. “Go and do likewise,” Jesus would say.
Okay, okay, I know, that is not ALL we have to do, and I wish that list was easier for me to check off each day… In fact, isn’t that one of the great things about life and faith? If we seek Him, we get another “to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” When I think of these three requirements, I feel like I understand the meaning of “do justly” and “walk humbly with our God.” They are challenging enough, but easier for me to wrap my mind around.
“Love mercy” seems more foreign. Am I just supposed to love/like the idea of mercy? It’s great! Like the idea of modern transportation can get us places quickly, right? OR am I supposed to love mercy so much that it is a part of my everyday life? Similar to handing out smiles or candy to everyone I meet? You get mercy, and you too get some of my mercy… While both of those are heavily sarcastic treatments of the ideas, I think they are part of the answer, but not the full answer.
We looked at the familiar parable of The Good Samaritan last week. As we discussed in our groups, we often see ourselves in this story as the Good Samaritan on a good day, and as the priest or Levite, on other days. Perhaps more than we care to admit. The lawyer in his questioning of Jesus was trying to “justify himself.” The lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells him the story and turned it back on the lawyer, “So, in this story, who was neighbor to the man in the ditch?” The lawyer correctly answered, although note, he did not say, “Samaritan,” “The one who showed him mercy.” The subtlety is amazing! The bloodied and broken man’s neighbor is the one who showed mercy to him. I think Jesus is pointing out that the lawyer does not have it all together. At times, he is the man in the ditch, robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Isn’t that all of us?
We need to realize we are the man in the ditch and that God is the Good Samaritan that, despite our sinfulness, lifts us out of the ditch and takes care of us.
What mercy! How wonderful is our God? I think this is the key to “love mercy.” I love mercy when I remember the ditch and my time there. I had no power of my own. I love mercy even more knowing that even though I did not deserve it, God rescued me and nursed me back to health. I love mercy knowing that I fail every day and I am in need of His mercy.
Do you know what the beautiful part of it all is? Because I have experienced the receiving of His mercy, it is now something that I can extend to others. No, of course, they do not deserve it, but neither do I. I also like to think that as receivers of mercy and grace, we have something in common and can come together as the body of Christ, the Church, and be the innkeeper in the story. Has God not given us everything we need to care for others that we find in the ditch?
Do justly, LOVE mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Go and do likewise, my brothers!