Yesterday at my church a fellow member I admire, Maggie Englund, spoke in place of our pastor, who was away. She chose the topic of “justice” so naturally I was scribbling notes the whole time. Although a central theme of both the Old Testament and Jesus’ teachings, it’s surprising how little air-time the topic of justice actually receives sometimes in evangelical churches.
Most profound to me of what Maggie shared was a brief but powerful explication of Micah 6:8:
He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
This is one of my favorite verses from Scripture, but one I have viewed as a laundry list, albeit a powerful laundry list. Maggie showed though how these three requirements are inseparably linked.
Here’s what I gathered from Maggie’s comments:
- Justice and mercy are impossible without humility. Humility before God, before one another, and even before the planet.
- When we are humble we have a right understanding of who we are in relation to God (as well as to one another and to the planet), and therefore are able to extend mercy and justice.
- Humility involves loving my neighbors as I love myself, as Jesus stated was the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39).
- In today’s global world my “neighbors” are people next door as well as people on the other side of the globe, because my actions today affect those people on the other side of the globe. I say in “today’s global world” but actually, as Maggie pointed out, God probably meant that broader understanding of “neighbor” in the first place.