Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Ethical Requirement?

In the great story of God that scripture reveals I am struck by the fact that in forming His people, God made special provision for the marginal. Over and over again, he laid out His heart for the ones who were powerless, under-represented and marginalized. The minor prophets take God's heart and put it in lights. It is front and center. Verse after verse of His disgust at their mistreatment. Verse after verse of His disgust toward those who are mistreating. He goes so far as to say that He would prefer lives given to the service of the alien and the broken ahead of sacrifices and worship. Laws about the Year of Jubilee, Gleaning, Sharing are peppered throughout the Torah and there is no need to guess where He stands on this. Yet, humanity fails and falls short of the heart of God.

One of my favorite verses of all times is Micah 6:8. It is painted on my dining room walls and I see it daily. God lays out an ethical requirement for His people. They are to love justice and mercy. He doesn't give us wiggle room here. He doesn't clarify circumstances. He doesn't give a loophole if one is being taken advantage of. There are no caveats. He simply states, that to be His people, called by His name, reflecting His heart we are to....

It is interesting to me that He knew we would fail in this regard if left to our own devices. And so, He builds in a way to hold us accountable to justice and compassion. A friend of mine posted a quote today by one of my favorite thinkers: "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." - Reinhold Niebuhr
I am not arguing for world wide democracy - the world is a little more nuanced and complicated than that in my opinion. However, the idea that we need a standard to be held to in our attempts to serve the "least of these" is significant to me. I can be self serving, selfish and self consumed in a heart beat. But it takes God's heartbeat within me to see with His eyes and touch with His touch.

As we are transformed more fully into the image of God, the requirement part of Micah 6:8 fades into the distance and the compulsion to be a vessel of justice and mercy takes over. Jesus calls us to a kingdom where justice and mercy prevail and we begin to share God's heartbeat for compassion wherever we can be a conduit for it.

1 comment:

Neil said...

The unconverted remain blind and thus there is no spirit of God within to re-regulate the blind self. Christians can not expect to see conversions if their buildings remain their prime location for demonstrating their Christianity. The task is before us - Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,