Disclaimer: This post deals with both politics and religion, which I know can be uncomfortable af, so I ask that you put your swords and shields down for just a minute. If that’s difficult for you, maybe read one of my other posts, like this one, that is lighthearted and deals with neither. Thanks and love you!
(Shortened version of Micah 6:8)
I love this command given by the prophet Micah on behalf of God. In chapter 6 of this ancient text, Micah essentially declares an indictment on behalf of the Lord. Basically, God’s people have broken their covenant with the Lord. There is a lack of justice and a lack of honesty. Preachers and rulers are corrupt, seeking personal gain at the expense of… well, anyone who gets in their way. Even worse, they are doing these things while believing that God is on their side. Sound familiar? No matter what side you’re on politically, it’s safe to say that many in leadership positions are corrupt. Many not in leadership positions are corrupt. Our nation is just struggling, y’all. We see it. We feel it. No matter how hard we try, we can’t ignore it.
As the chapter goes forward, God identifies what he really requires. What is truly good. God shows Israel how to get back in line with their covenant with God.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8, NIV)
K. So how does this apply today? This was written in the 8th century B.C. for Christ’s sake (who, by the way, hadn’t even been born yet).
Glad you asked! I’ve always loved literature and making connections and studying metaphors. It revs my engine. I feel like God reveals himself to me this way (which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising since Jesus spoke in parables often). The more I thought on this verse, the more I felt like God was revealing something to me.
America has been radically divided for years, but lately it seems like there is a canyon between opposing parties. This could be due to social media. Or our immediate access to information (true or not). Or our ability to spew divisive opinions without regard for the actual human beings reading them. But that’s a blog post for another day. There are many (honestly, most) who don’t fit into one political box, but the main argument is between the political right and political left. It’s easier for us, as humans, to split people into Us vs Them. It’s kind of a built in survival mechanism, but it’s not really helpful.
The more I’ve meditated on this verse, the more I feel like it can be seen as a directive from God for our country. That’s the cool thing about the Bible – even though there are extreme cultural differences between these ancient texts and our current society, a lot of things are universal.
I feel like this is the part with which the political right identifies the most and does the best. Justice. Fairness. If I worked hard for something and you didn’t, why should you get the same or more than what I earned? The law is the law and if you break it, you have to accept the consequences. Justice over mercy. This relates closely to the Old Testament. An eye for an eye. People had to make sacrifices to appease the wrath of God and to atone for their sins. God is a just God and he can’t just overlook sin. Act justly.
This directive has the political left written all over it. Mercy. Grace. Equity over equality. I have the responsibility as a human to take care of other humans, even if they are criminals or addicts or unemployed. Mercy over justice. This relates closely to the New Testament. A new law I give you, Love one another. Let he who hasn’t sinned cast the first stone. Turn the other cheek. Jesus is a God of mercy and grace. Jesus consistently broke the Jewish law and traditions. Love mercy.
This is the directive that hit me in the stomach. Neither the Right nor the Left does this well. Us vs Them. We’re right and they’re wrong. The Right calls the Left libtards and snowflakes and the Left calls the Right racists and nazis. We do not walk humbly. In fact, we do not walk alongside each other at all.
As Christians, we shouldn’t read the Old Testament and discard the New. Likewise, we shouldn’t hold fast to the New Testament and ignore the Old. The Bible includes both. In the living Word of God, Justice and Mercy are paired together in a perfect dance describing the very essence of God. They cannot exist without one another. Justice needs mercy and mercy needs justice. Just like our country needs both sides. We need for right and left and justice and mercy to stand together. To work together. To maybe admit that we don’t have all the answers. To humanize the “other”. To walk humbly together.
Both conservatives and liberals are people and grouping or generalizing can be harmful. We all possess the ability to uphold justice and mercy at the same time. We all possess the ability to walk humbly.
As I said in the disclaimer, this post mixes both religion AND politics so I apologize if any of that gets anyone’s jimmies rustled. Clearly if you don’t identify as a Christian, this post probably won’t sit well with you, and that’s okay. We’re all just doing our best to make sense of this crazy world.