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Act justly


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James Dunne writes

He has showed 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: V8) RSV

Last week I shared my thoughts on, what is for me, one of the Bible’s signature verses. I thought I would follow it up by sharing my thoughts on my other signature verse, the quote from the Book of Micah shown above.

An interesting way to look at this verse is through the prism of Christ’s life and teaching. In the opening line the word ‘showed’ has echoes of Christ’s statement to the disciples that he is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’. It speaks of God not just telling us, but demonstrating goodness to us in the way that he deals with us. The verse then points to why God has shown us what is good; it is about teaching us how to conduct our relationships with ‘our neighbour’ and our God.

The initial emphasis is placed on our relationship with others and then him. This echoes Jesus teaching in Matthew 5: vs 23,24 where we are taught that proper worship requires godly relationships between believers.

The verse asks us to do justice or act justly towards others. This speaks of treating all fairly and avoiding favouritism.

It also speaks of loving mercy, or in some translations of loving kindness. This speaks of kindness being at the heart of our dealings with others. We treat others not just fairly but with kindness and gentleness. On conducting our relationship with God; what does walking humbly with our God mean?

The Apostle Paul makes reference to the greatest act of humility in the whole bible when he writes in Philippians 2 that Christ ‘Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant……’

Paul writes elsewhere in Philippians about, “Let each of you look not to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ And ‘but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.’. Christ on the eve of his crucifixion demonstrated humility in action by washing his disciple’s feet.

Walking in humility with God is about not being me centred, but actively valuing others and seeking their best interests. It is about looking to serve rather than receive. It is also about the reality of purpose for God’s redemptive plan which is to restore us as individuals who are also part of a bigger family, and that family is joined in relationship with the Father.