“He has shown you, everyone, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To live justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
While this is just one sentence in the midst of a chapter very similar to it, we have pulled it out and held it up as a theme verse for the whole of scripture. I myself have preached entire sermon series on these three ideas. And it is not wrong to do so. While context is key to every scripture, this one’s context reinforces the verse well.
Live justly: In our interactions with the world around us, we must be just and seek justice for others. One of the infuriating things in our society is the selfish aspect of our “protest for justice” mentality. We demand justice for ourselves and those we like or agree with, while happily ignoring it for those we don’t like or disagree with. We will march in protest against racism while simultaneously supporting racist groups financially. We carry signs against global warming while driving a gas guzzler because it’s more hip, cheap, or easy. God’s call here is not to demand justice for ourselves or our groups, but to provide justice for those we have been unjust toward.
Love mercy: In our interactions with the world around us, we must love to show mercy to those who have wronged us. This is the exact opposite of the first and it is hard to do. To live life forgiving those who hurt us while living justly toward those we have hurt is a hard way to live.
Walk humbly with your God: This is the key to the first two. The only way we can live life justly and mercifully is if we live humbly as well. Humility is to put yourself aside, including your “rights” and your “deserves”. When we put ourselves completely at God’s disposal, we can dispense with the battle for our rights. We can live mercifully without fear of being taken advantage of.
Live justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. It’s not easy, but it is the best possible, least stressful, most restful way to live.