By Althea Taylor, Director of CJI
Micah 6:8 (NIV)
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[a] with your God.
Micah 6:8 (The Message)
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously — take God seriously.
We are reminded of God’s heart for justice in Micah 6:8. This verse ends a portion of Scripture, (Micah 6:1-8), where God states grievances held against the children of God (Israel). The children of Israel are accused of having a response of ingratitude and rebellion in response to God’s grace. They are guilty of:
- abandoning the covenant they have with God,
- Living lives full of inconsistencies,
- Participating in cheap religious practices, and
- Demonstrating their failure to love their neighbor.
As I think about our present predicament, in the church, I urge us to be careful how harshly we judge the “Children of Israel”, God’s chosen people. Our present condition within the church of Jesus Christ is not so different. An assessment of our present predicament indicates that as Christians, we often identify more closely with political systems that fail to put the interest of hurting communities first. Rather than representing God’s heart for the poor and marginalized, we have ingrained ourselves in political, economic, and social landscapes that are troubling at best and despairing at their worst.
We seem to be entrenched in times of fractured political systems that fail to put the interest of hurting communities first. The interest of partisan politics seems to have become the order of business for many Christians regardless of their political affiliation. All of this, resulting in apathy because of the hateful rhetoric and growing mistrust of politicians.
Although there is some economic growth, growth in inflation seems to be outpacing economic growth, as many within are communities are struggling to care for basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing, etc.
Our world is full of endless examples of social unrest demonstrated everyday through acts of biases, tensions, and inequities towards Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks even as the church is eerily silent in her witness of love for neighbor.
Where are our voices to advocate for the stranger amongst us? Why are we so silent? Where are our collective voices for communities subjected to biased immigration policies that appears to be intrinsically broken in offering refuge, as we are compelled to demonstrate love for our neighbor?
Upon reflection, God’s grievance against Israel in Micah 6:1-8 can easily be applied to His church today. As we reach the midpoint of Lent in commemorating Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13, Mark 1:12-13), we are also being tested. Let us reflect on God’s grievances of Israel. Is the same true of us, who are called to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
The first portion of Micah 6 states, “act justly”. What does “act justly” mean? I believe it is a call to return to a covenantal relationship with God demonstrated through:
- right action – not participating in unjust behaviors
- right words – not participating in unjust speech
- right attitude – not adhering to unjust attitudes that lead to unjust behaviors
Instead let us participate in small steps for justice by challenging the status quo through “our actions” demonstrated in love for God and neighbor. After-all, we are called to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
- As you think about your relationship with Jesus and your witness of His love to the world, are you challenged by today’s reflection?
- If yes, in what ways do you sense the Lord calling you to adjust your spiritual posture before God and your witness before others?
Gracious Lord, have mercy on me. I desire to live for you and demonstrate your love to those around me. As a part of your church, help me to join with like-minded Christians and live as a credible witness in the world, of your love, demonstrated through right action, right words, and a right attitude.