He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
This verse has been rolling around in my mind and spirit the last few days. It is a sign that the Lord is saying, “Stop and consider what this means.” I began to see the depth of truth that lies within these words. It is too much for me to write in one blog post. So, I will be writing and posting about justice, kindness, and walking humbly over the next few days.
What does the Lord require of you as you walk this path called life? This instruction pertaining to justice, kindness, humility and walking with the Lord is as true for us today as it was for Micah. Let’s first look at the notion of justice as it pertains to a Jesus-following lifestyle.
On the one hand Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” On the other hand later in the chapter (Matthew 7:15-16) He seems to encourage us to use godly wisdom and judgment when He says,
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”
So how do we “do justice?” Judging the fruit of words, actions, and motives is not the same as judging the person. Judging fruit is discernment without condemnation. It is not judging the person.
Consider Romans 8:1–2 which says,
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
We only have to look at Jesus to understand this upside down view of justice and no condemnation.
In John 8:1–11, Jesus turned the world’s notion of justice upside down and showed us what a Kingdom of Forgiveness (not judgement) looks like.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:1–7)
Think about it. According to the current Jewish laws, the woman caught in adultery deserved to be stoned. It was justice as defined by her society. Jesus turns that justice inward when He says, “Look within your hearts.” “Who here has not done something worthy of punishment?”
He then pauses to let his point sink in and it seems Holy Spirit brings conviction to the hearts of men as they leave.
Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” (John 8:8–10)
The following verse is worth dissecting a bit.
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:11)
What is the justice Jesus brings to the situation? It is justice without condemnation. Free of condemnation, He admonishes the woman to “sin no more”. That is judging the fruit and not the person. He reminded her that her fruit was rotten and that she needed to change her lifestyle.
Jesus ushered in the Kingdom of Forgiveness of sins. A Kingdom that says, I love you, but your fruit is rotting.
When Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He is giving us specific instructions we can use today.
Let’s help Jesus turn the world’s notion of justice upside down.
Let’ pray for wisdom and discernment to judge fruit and not people.
Let’s learn to love our enemies as the children that God created them to be.
Let’s pray for those who persecute us.
Let me leave you with a few questions—how do you exhibit God’s notion of upside down justice in your life? How do you show His Kingdom of forgiveness to those in your life? How do you show love to your enemies or pray for those who persecute you?
Looking back on Micah 6:8 we get a hint of how we do justice God’s way? We follow Jesus’ example of justice by continually walking in His Presence. What does God require of you? To walk with your Messiah who came to turn the world’s notion of justice, kindness, and humility upside down. It is only with His Spirit.