"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?" (NKJV)
And yet, we try to make it so complicated. We spend our lives scouring scriputre to try to make these words and ideals fit into our concepts of what this means. "Surely, it doesn't mean justice for all?" "Surely, it means only justice and mercy for God's people?" "Ah come on, Peg! You can't really believe that God wants to show mercy to the atheist, the sinner, Hitler......" "God's justice means that only those of us who have worked hard will be rewarded, right? Otherwise, why bother if all will be saved?" Ah, God open our hearts to your words and our minds to your thoughts.
He has shown us what is good, but we close our eyes. We turn our heads, we look away. We want it to be our way. We want it to be about us. We want our "goodness" developed though our "works" to be the only criteria. Forget the "love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength" or "love your neighbor as yourself". Forget that He wants us to love mercy, to do justly, oh, and don't even start on the walk humbly stuff. "I'm doing what He wants, not that heathen!" "I believe the right way: you're wrong!"I sigh, while God weeps.
We were speaking this week of how to, or if to, care for each other in this world. Call me naive, call me stupid, call me gullible, but Jesus said that if you see a man with no shirt to give him yours. There was nothing in that statement about a needs test, or if they qualify for your assistance, or even if they were working or idle. Isn't it up to God to decide if His tithes are being robbed? Shouldn't we give when we see need and let God decide not only our motives but the recipients'? If I withhold in the presence of need, I am as guilty of wrong as the one who takes what is not needed. We both will answer to God for our actions. And somehow, I think I would be found more guilty as I have shown a lack of God's love, mercy, care, and yes, His justice.And I claim to be one with Him.
What if God's mercy and love were dished out according to the criteria that we set for taking care of others? God would only love us and care for us when we "worked", not "yet while we were sinners". His food pantry would only be open to us after we filled out an application and met the means test. He would only shelter us in the shadow of His wings after we had applied to all other options for assistance and only for a limited time. He would only give us His Spirit to teach us after we applied for educational assistance and was accepted by our test scores. I thank Him daily that His mercy falls down on the just and unjust, that His love and care is there for all, and mostly that He is the one who sets the criteria for all His things: not man. While we all fall short with God, somehow I doubt that there'd even be any contenders if man were in charge.
He has shown us what is good. So what does He require of us? To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.