Justice and Mercy; December 11, 2019

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.

This is a dearly loved verse, set to music and otherwise, but that doesn’t mean it’s well understood or followed. We are in the middle of revelations of extreme injustice in the US government, which will hopefully lead to some genuine justice. In terms of loving mercy, the political climate in the US at the moment is such that someone who doesn’t agree with you instantly becomes an enemy. There’s no mercy in that! And when it comes to walking humbly with our Creator, the lack of that is what made God have to send His Son to die for us, and we haven’t changed much since then. We do need to understand what this is saying here. Acting justly includes the awareness that there are absolute standards of right and wrong. There are many today who want to deny that, and make everything subjective. That obliterates justice, because it makes everything subject to someone’s whim. In Japanese, “justice” is written as “public righteousness.” The interesting thing is, there are two slightly different characters for “righteousness.” The only difference between them is that one has the radical for “person” on the left, and the other doesn’t. I take it to mean that the one with “person” makes man the standard, whereas the one without that lets our Creator set the standard. When you type the phonetic sound for “justice” into the computer, Microsoft will always give you the one with “person” in it, but the Bible uses the other one. It’s no surprise that the world wants to make man the standard for everything, but it is sad nonetheless. The problem with a focus on an absolute standard of justice is that it can make us rigid and unloving, and that’s why it’s so important that we love mercy. The thing is, we will not really be merciful unless we understand how much we need mercy ourselves. Self-righteousness is the antithesis of mercy. That’s why the third point, of walking humbly with our God, is essential. We have to recognize that we are created beings and not omnipotent or omniscient. We have to acknowledge our Creator, and that He knows best. It is only when we do that, that we are able to walk in His best for us.

This of course applies to me as much as it does to anyone. My blog of a few days ago prompted a response from someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge our Creator, and my response to him prompted a response from another person who essentially wants to assign divinity to mankind. I am saddened by that, but at the same time I recognize my own susceptibility to the same deceptions. As I commented to one of those men, I could easily have become a sociopath, had God not had mercy on me and steered me away from that. I do not want anyone to go to destruction, and I know full well that left to myself and my self-delusions, that was where I was headed. To me, this verse doesn’t just tell me how to live personally, it also encourages me to tell others about my Lord so that they may join me in walking humbly with Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that my words do touch people, one way or another. Whether they are written or spoken, I pray that my words would indeed draw people to You, opening their eyes to Your incredible love, grace, and mercy, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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