Micah 6:8 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.
For me it is hard to strike a balance of these three actions. I might be able to pull two off at the same time, but to practice all three is difficult. When I am interested in justice, I find myself lacking in mercy and humility. When I am acting out of mercy, justice seems to fall to the wayside. I can see myself mixing humility in with either of these two at times. But, to balance the three takes some work on my part.
First of all, when I am dealing with an individual I am leading, I separate the action and choices from the core of the person. For me, and for the person I am guiding, it is important to see him/her as a created child of God. When I set up our encounter with this thought in mind, it creates an environment for applying the three actions. If I do not do this, then two things happen: One, I am out of balance, not present with the person, and I project my judgments onto the person. Second, I put the person on the defensive because she feels an attack on her character. When I acknowledge her as a person who is in the middle of a choice, I really take me out of the picture and she has a sense of being seen and heard.
Next, I begin to point out consequences and/or possible consequences for choices and actions. This is the justice. There is justice for the choice/action. I am able to help him to see the natural consequences for the choice as well and structural consequences that may occur. This justice is actually a gift for the individual. By pointing out consequences, I have helped this person to look into his life and see where this might be a pattern that may need to change. This can help him live life justly moving forward.
Third, is the practice of mercy as it relates to the justice she has experienced. To me, this part is the compassion and empathy for the person experiencing the justice. A reminder of the separation between her goodness and her choice is helpful here. In some cases, any added consequence beyond the natural consequences may be waived. The key to the mercy is a sense of, “We’re going to walk through this together.” It is important for me to be her cheerleader as she walks through whatever she faces next.
Finally, the application of walking with humility: Throughout the whole process, I will periodically point out how what the person is experiencing is in some way a mirror for me and how I live my life at times. This is where I relate times in my life where I have taken part in similar actions and choices. I may even summarize the consequences I faced. The humble part of this is me telling on myself. Why does this work? I think of the part of this verse that says, “…walk humbly with your God.” creates that environment. To walk with God and His holiness requires humility. The expression of that God-driven humility; creates an authentic space for connection.
I am sure there are other interpretations of this verse. There may be some who disagree with my view. However, for me, as I reflect back on recent application of God’s word in my life…I see this verse coming to life how I described it above. My challenge to my readers is to ask you to leave comments on how this verse applies to your everyday life. Where do you fall short in this application? Where are you successfully applying this verse in your life?
1. What is your definition of justice?
2. What is your definition of mercy?
3. What is your definition of humbly walking with God?
4. How has this verse made you think about these three actions?
5. Take notice this week how these three actions fit into your everyday life. What are you doing well? What needs improvement?
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