“He has shown you, O man, 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.” Micah 6:8
If these words are true, it means that we are without excuse for much of bad things we do—our lack of compassion and our arrogance. If Micah was truly the “mouthpiece” of God (i.e. a prophet), his words matter to all men and women, boys and girls. And perhaps some of the things he said should cause us to pause and reflect.
He has shown us means that we know in our hearts these truths. Somethings don’t have to “introduced” to us, but rather reminded to us. We innately know what is good but have to be reminded, as we get older, because we either forget, get accustomed to following the lead of others, or have found a way to talk ourselves into believing that we are justified for not doing good. It is a fight each morning to hold on to the good and let go of the excuses to what is wrong.
But God has shown us what He requires of each of us His creations:
-To act justly—-that is, to do what is right. NOT what suits us, or satisfies our urge for revenge or restitution, but what is right.
-To love mercy. Not merely to approve of someone getting a second chance, or of a criminal getting pardoned, but loving it. That is getting “happy” about a person receiving something good when they know that that deserve something bad. It’s a matter of rejoicing for the other soul that gets a break and not whining about it when we don’t.
-To walk humbly before Him. God is God….and I am a fallen creature, a “cracked pot”, an imperfect representation of the man that God wanted and wants me to be. Yes, He loves me nonetheless, but only because of His Son’s redemption of my soul on the cross of Golgotha.
It’s easier with kids to talk about these things than grown-up folks—-that’s why I am so dedicated to summer camping and a youth ministry at this church. Frederick Douglas said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. As we get older we’re guilty of choosing ignorance—the word in Greek is ἄγνοια “agnostic”. It’s does not mean “not knowing” in this context, but rather “choosing ignorance” with the inference that it is inexcusable. We know it’s wrong to drink and drive, but we think we’re smart than the statistics; we know it’s wrong to exaggerate and embellish on our income tax reports, but we hide and tell ourselves that the government is corrupt and we should pay them as little as possible; When we grow up and don’t receive justice and mercy we feel is deserved, or when we see arrogance and pride applauded, we can lose sight of our goal and our created purpose and adopt “fallen” tendencies.
But teenagers, and even more so children, know right from wrong and are able to apologize for blunders, admit it, confess that it was unfair or not nice—-they don’t hide behind some conflated explanation for “why” they have chosen to hate Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump—-they still remember that to hate someone is wrong (even if they do blurt out that “word” from time to time.) We hide the words but nurse the same feeling deceptively in our hearts.
May God cleanse our adult hearts from all unrighteousness and give us the heart of a child again. We know how we should live. We just need to remember.
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