Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taking God seriously by doing justice with compassion (Micah 6:8) with an observation from Ralph W. Sockman.

SCRIPTURE: Micah 6:8 (TM)
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously.

STORY included in a sermon by Ralph W. Sockman:
Justice is symbolized on courthouses and elsewhere by the figure of a blindfolded woman with scales in her hand, the implication being that the essence of justice is the weighing of the facts in hand with an impartiality which might be lost if we could see the parties involved. To put it graphically though crudely, the blindfold should be removed and spectacles should be substituted. If we would weigh a situation justly, we must see not only the persons involved but also their backgrounds.

In casual ways we pass judgment on others all the time. We see the way they are dressed or the tattoos on their bodies or the multiple body-piercings and we arrive at a conclusion concerning them as a whole. Aren’t we glad that God doesn’t treat us the same way?

Though Micah doesn’t say it directly, nevertheless by reading between the lines one could arrive at the conclusion that we should try to see and act with the same love and concern as God does towards us. Walk in the other person’s shoes for just a mile and see if ones opinion doesn’t change. Deal with the issues that they have to deal with and ones eyesight will be directly affected.

The second conclusion that could be arrived at is this: we need to get ourselves out of the way. Too often how we feel about ourselves and our life circumstances negatively affect how we view others. If we feel good about ourselves then we will be able to act better towards others. If we are satisfied with our life then we can take a more compassionate stance with others. If we feel that we have been treated fairly we are more likely to defend the rights of others.

Doing justice can be difficult and demanding, but if God is at the center it will come naturally … it will be second nature to us … like breathing in and breathing out. We won’t have to think about it. It will become the core value of our operating system, but it does mean that we have to replace image of our self with the image of God. Maybe that is a little of what Paul meant when he stated: It isn’t any longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

May we be noted for our fairness. May be we known for our justice. May we be the channel through which love flows. May God be seen in us in all that we do and say. And, may we learn to laugh at ourselves. 

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