There is no single verse of scripture that is above the rest of the Bible, but many powerful verses stand out in personal and communal faith that hold unique meaning. These special verses of the Bible mark the repetition of prayers, sermons, and conversations as the faithful lovingly and confidently claim the sacred truth of Scripture to encourage, challenge, admonish, teach, inspire, and cultivate a deeper faith. One such scripture comes from the tiny prophetic book of Micah 6:8.
A translation of this ancient text could read, “You who are human, you know what it is that the Lord requires of you. Is it not that you are to work for justice in all things, present yourself as one in love with all that is kind, and to be humble in your intimate journey with God?” This solitary verse of God’s Word vividly illustrates the marks a true believer on three very important aspects of faith.
Seeking Justice has nothing to do with “justice” as Americans often use the word. Frequently, “justice” has to do with the legal system, revenge, punishment, and triumphing over an adversary. Such calls for justice often are coupled with anger and outrage. A wrong has been done and there is an angry call to make things right—sometimes at all costs and without regard to human dignity, compassion, or understanding. Yet, such a distorted view of justice in the context of Micah is a distraction from authentic faith in God. Justice in Micah’s context refers to working to restore God’s will for equality among all humanity, ending discrimination, oppression, and systems that promote hatred. For the church, this demands a faithful advocacy for social justice. Yet, tragically, often the church abandons social justice for causes of doctrinal authority, punitive judgment against those it deems different, sinners, or less than worthy of God’s love, and angry calls for harsh rules for salvation.
As one who truly falls in love with kindness, loving God is literally and figuratively expressed in loving neighbor. Such love demands kindness. This is true even when one’s neighbor is not Christian, expresses a gender identity others do not understand, has committed a crime one finds reprehensible, lives a way of life that is contrary to that which others may find inexcusable, or is simply deemed a filthy person underserving of kindness. When one truly loves kindness, one loves to treat people with that kindness. Kindness, of course, does not mean that a Christian should allow them to walk all over others or not put in place respectful boundaries. Even kindness has restrictions. Yet, to remove kindness from how the believer engages the world violates God.
Humility is perhaps one of the most vital components of an authentic Christian witness. Christ was never arrogant or rude, he never boasted nor presumed to be superior to the people with whom he encountered. The Apostle Paul writes quite eloquently about Jesus in the second chapter of Philippians that Christ was humble even to his death. For Christians to assert superiority, arrogance, and any form of privilege because of the title of being part of the Body of Christ is to violate the very example of the person Christians presume to represent.
To work for justice, fall in love with kindness, and journey humbly with God is the mark of a mature, faithful, and biblical Christian. It is when we get distracted by the politics of the age, the culture of rage in which much of America now lives, the punitive doctrines of our churches, and the discriminatory practices that divide God’s people into those who are going to heaven and those who are going to hell that we lose sight of God and Christianity in place of idolatry.
This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: Justice, love and kindness to walk humbly with God