I remember sitting in a Bible study class at a small Mennonite church in northern Michigan, during the late spring of 2001, almost 17 years ago. It was a small mixed group of adults, maybe eight total. The Bible study leader began to teach, and his teaching centered around the Bible verse Micah 6:8. You know those times when you’re sitting down with your Bible and suddenly a scripture that you’ve read, or listened to before, becomes indelibly etched within your mind? It was this particular leader’s discussion on the one verse, Micah 6:8 that clicked for me, causing part of the Lord’s precious Words to forever lodge in my brain. That’s quite a feat indeed for someone who doesn’t have much scripture memorized. And, for sure, I know it was God who put it there. I struggle with verse memorization, always have, always will. And years ago I quit beating myself up over it. I have six verses that I’m working on now, and one of them is there completely. But, I digress. Now I admit even on this very famous verse, at times I still stumble over the exact words, since my preferred sequence of words is: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly. But, it’s those six particular words that stick in this rather thick skull of mine.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8, ESV)
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)
Do Justice – A strong drive and sense of right and wrong, which is engrained into a person driving them to strive always to do what is right.
Love Mercy – Showing God’s love to others, and being loyal to God.
Walk Humbly – Having a humble nature, reflecting that which God is doing through your life, giving God all the glory.
I like how GotQuestions.org states the view of this verse: “The response of a godly heart is outward (do justice), inward (love mercy), and upward (walk humbly).” https://www.gotquestions.org/do-justly-love-mercy-walk-humbly.html
Outward, Inward, Upward – it’s a great way to view this verse.
Outward: Do Justice, or if you prefer Do Right. In it’s purest form, doing justice, as I believe was originally envisioned in the U.S. Justice system, means that everyone is to be treated fairly and honestly. Notice the word – everyone. We treat those who have little with the same kindness, honesty, and compassion as those who have much.
Inward: Love Mercy. It’s in the way that I myself am moved to have compassion and kindness towards others. And, it was in GotQuestions.org (referenced above) that I found the addition of being loyal to God. It’s a rather nice addition, and one that I had not considered before. I interpret that if I am being loyal to God, then what breaks His heart should also break mine.
Upward: Walk Humbly. This one is one that can easily become a stumbling block to ourselves anytime things start going well. Perhaps we have great success, we could be a great Bible Study leader, a church leader that is highly respected, or have a wildly successful blog. People may flock to you because of your teachings. And soon, you begin to love the accolades of your adoring fans. You begin to attribute all that success to your own abilities. You cut God out of the picture, instead of giving Him all the glory and all the credit that rightfully belong to Him.
Out of the three, the outward has the strongest pull in my life. I have a strong sense of justice. I don’t like separate rules for people depending upon the circumstances. I don’t tend to see many grey areas. Upward – I have to admit that at times I stumble with walking humbly, more so in my earlier life, but occasionally every now and then. But, it’s the inward that causes me the most problems. Mercy gives me one picture in my mind, more so on a more global, social scale – the forgotten, the homeless, the drug addicted, the human trafficked. I’m immensely uncomfortable and totally inept when facing people in those situations. When I look at the kindness end, well I can and do extend kindness to many, but it’s more on a surface level. I tend to channel my resources to those who are better gifted when working on social injustices.
How about you? Which of the three is your strongest? Which is the one, if any, that you struggle with?