When the Lord commands us to love and to exercise mercy, He is not asking for too much, because He has already demonstrated to us what it means to love, and even to love our enemies (Rom.5:8). Mercy or compassion is one of the ingredients of an authentic religion. We read in Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8 declares what God expects of everyone of His people, a lesson especially crucial for leaders. Because God holds leaders responsible for creating healthy environments. The people learn to love justice and show mercy when their leader creates an environment for both, and starts right where we are in our homes. The three items listed in our text define the values of a godly leader:
1. Act justly: Justice for people and integrity rule their decisions regarding policy and program.
2. Love mercy: A love for people and relationship skills remain a high priority.
3. Walk humbly with God: A respectful relationship with God governs their strategy and lifestyle.
Broadly speaking, the Lord is saying to us that religion without relationship is worthless. How many times have you prayed before a meal without paying attention to the words you have spoken? Or sang a hymn in church while thinking of something else? It’s easy to become accustomed to routines of the Christian life. We may even use religious expressions, listen to certain music, and pray before we eat; but go through a whole day without truly depending on God, repenting of our sin, and worshipping Him.
Today’s bible texts caution us to guard against our tendency to go through the motions without experiencing an intimate relationship with God. Knowing God requires more than external obedience or religious habits (though obedience is certainly required). Any religion can offer rituals – only Christianity offers a real relationship with the Lord who created the universe, walk humbly with Him, because relationship with God requires a right heart.
Our Lord Jesus Christ invites each one of us, young or old, into the life that He shares with the Father. This life is at the heart of the salvation He offers – but what is this life? It’s relational – new connection with God, we are to relate to others the way God does – we are supposed to bear a family resemblance to our Father and to our elder brother, Jesus. Even when we don’t speak the gospel directly, on lookers should be able to see a difference in us. They should learn about God’s character by watching our character. Our words and actions can welcome people into the family of God, or they can scare them away. Which do yours do? I wish you a fruitful week, and God bless you.
The Very Rev. Canon Michael Mukhwana,