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? (Mic. 6:8).
This mandate in Scripture has shaped my passion for seeking justice in our broken world. The clarity of these words leaves us with no doubt as to how God wants us to spend our time on earth.
Act justly; love mercy; walk humbly with your God. I’ve always focused my primary attention on the acting justly and loving mercy portions of this command. These two seem challenging enough. It’s often overwhelming to navigate how to live out justice and mercy to the world around me.
There are millions of people worldwide experiencing injustice. How can I, a stay-at-home mom, give justice to the oppressed? It’s also so easy to feel personally entitled to mercy and yet deny giving it to others. How do I extend forgiveness to others when my flesh is not ready to release the offense? My own weakness renders me incapable of obedience.
As I’ve wrestled with the weightiness of how to act justly and love mercy, I’ve realized that it’s only possible to obey these commands in light of the gospel when we walk humbly with our God.
Humility is dependence on God. Walking in humility displays our reliance on His strength in our weakness to obey. Our obedience to God’s good commands must come from a place of humility as we rely on Him to accomplish it.
Humility in Acting Justly
Because of sin, we live in an unjust world. We are transgressors of God’s law and the consequence for our rebellion is death. But God sent His Son to live the life we could not live and die the death we should have died. God poured out His just wrath on His Son instead of on us. This great grace should humble us.
Seeking justice can be overwhelming, considering the effects of sin in our world:
- 150 million children are vulnerable in our world today due to fatherlessness and poverty.
- 45 million image-bearers are living in modern-day slavery.
- 65 million refugees are currently seeking refuge after fleeing their homes due to war, famine, and persecution.
- Every year, over 50 million babies are murdered in their mothers’ wombs.
I look at those numbers, and then I look at me. I don’t see any way for me to make a difference. This is what my enemy wants me to think. He wants me to keep my focus on me and my strength so that I’ll believe that I can’t do anything to help. And if I were depending on myself to accomplish justice for the vulnerable, that would be true.
But instead, I humbly depend on God to give justice to the oppressed. He is the Justice-Giver, not me. Apart from Him, I am weak; but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13).
We rely on His strength to obey His command to act justly by speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves (Prov. 31:8). The Church champions family preservation to prevent fatherlessness by discipling men to care for their families. We walk alongside moms and dads struggling to make the decision to keep their babies, teaching them the value of life. Only God can give us a heart that loves and welcomes refugees into our culture and our homes.
God gives us a message of freedom to share with those in captivity. In humility, we can act justly toward others.
Humility in Loving Mercy
We are the recipients of God’s great mercy (1 Peter 2:10). We were separated from Christ, having no hope without Him (Eph. 2:12). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4–5).
God has shown us great mercy through salvation. As a result, we should be lovers of mercy. Just as He has extended an invitation for us to draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy (Heb. 4:16), we offer mercy to others.
We have done nothing to merit mercy from God. It’s all of grace that we have received it. So it's in humility that we show mercy to others. We depend on Him for our own mercy and for Him to use us as instruments of mercy to the world.
Our flesh will tempt us to see fatherless children as someone else’s responsibility. As lovers of mercy, we show compassion by opening our homes to them through fostering and adoption instead of looking the other way.
We may want to see teen pregnancy as the consequence of poor choices, but as lovers of mercy, we walk alongside these scared, young mothers in companionship and without judgment.
God gives us compassionate hearts for children sold into sexual slavery and a voice to speak up on their behalf.
We humbly depend on God to use us to show compassion to refugees living in our cities by offering our assistance in finding jobs and learning English.
Only God could help us forgive someone who has betrayed us. We can show mercy through forgiveness because we have been forgiven (Eph. 4:32).
We freely receive mercy, and in humility, we freely give it.
Humility in Our Walk
God has commanded us to act justly and to love mercy. Our walk is our actions; it’s what we do to obey God. Humility defines how we walk. As believers, we should not walk in pride, in our own strength; we should walk in the strength He provides.
God desires us to walk with Him. Our God is relational, personal, and interactive. He is with us, and He is for us. We belong to Him; therefore, we are not alone.
We don’t need to be overwhelmed by the mandate to act justly. Instead, we can humbly depend on God to give justice to the oppressed as His Word promises (Ps. 103:6). Seeking justice is seeking the God of justice.
We shouldn’t withhold mercy from others because we don’t think they deserve it. Remember that we don’t deserve the mercy God shows us. We are all unworthy recipients of God’s grace, and that should humble us. How then can we deny mercy to others?
As we walk in obedience to His good commands, we will walk humbly, depending on Him to provide what He desires. We can join Christ in His work of reconciling man to God and making all things new (Rev. 21:5). Let us act justly and love mercy in His power, by His grace, and for His glory.