June 16, 2022
I have found that as I get older my conversations with God come in many forms. I have a kneeling bench in my study at home and often I find myself there to pray. Since the church office is temporarily in the sanctuary building, I sit in my pulpit chair sometimes to pray. I find it simpler to pray for individual church members by looking at their seat in the sanctuary! I sometimes walk when I pray. For me, it’s practical. I concentrate better and don’t fall asleep. It’s also allegorical: a frequent biblical metaphor of the life of faith is “walking with God” (Genesis 5:24; Deuteronomy 11:22; Colossians 1:10).
I was prayer-walking recently when Micah 6:8 came to mind with the kind of clarity that often proves to be the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I pulled it up on my phone app and read it: “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) Two words in this text are so very powerful: “Love kindness.” The imperative touched my soul! Do I really love kindness? Or do I mainly love the idea of kindness? I frequently pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23). In reading this passage you must ask yourself, “Do I really “do justice”? Or do I mainly affirm the idea of justice?” Is my “doing justice” mainly “not doing injustice” myself, but rarely pursuing justice for others? Micah 6:8 exposes truth to us. I can love abstract ideas of justice and kindness and neglect their concrete expression. It admonishes me: I cannot “do justice” or “love kindness” without loving real people. It humbles us, which is just what the Doctor ordered, if I’m really ready to walk with him.
Our flesh would prefer the command to “love justice.” Phrased that way, justice subtly becomes more abstract, and it’s always easier to affirm what’s abstract than perform what’s concrete. If asked, virtually all people will say they love justice. But probe into how someone is specifically doing justice, and conversations turn awkward quickly. It’s much easier to “love justice” than to “do justice.” It’s much easier to rant against injustice than to take meaningful action to stop it. Ranting costs us little to nothing. Doing justice makes personal, time-consuming, heart-rending demands of us all! What are you standing up for? What are you passionate about these days? Set your heart on the things of God and so very much in your life will be cared for by the God who loves you. God bless you all!
In Jesus’ love,
Dr. Jerry Light