He has told, O Man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you.
But to do justice, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God
- Micah 6:8
From Timani Reynolds:
We were talking about this verse today, and how it should be our family motto in this situation of isolation and togetherness. We have definitely had more opportunities to sin against each other! More opportunities to begin sentences with "I want," or exasperation, or resentment. We chatted together about how our hearts desire to respond to each other when we're disappointed or anxious. How would it look if we responded to our discontent and boredom with humility? Acting justly when we have the opportunity to take more? Showing kindness when our patience is worn thin? Yes, we definitely have more opportunities to sin against each other in this time! But thankfully, that means we also have more opportunities to reconcile, forgive, and love one another.
Considering Micah 6:8, we all agreed that doing justice seemed the easiest of the three. Justice is always easy when tempers flare. But humility? Kindness (or mercy, as some translations state)? Those are much more difficult. How can I turn my thoughts from "I want" or, "I feel like doing x," to humbly seeking to serve? How can I choose mercy, when this person has just kicked over my block tower on purpose! And they deserve a kick of their own - in the face!! How can I respond with kindness when this child, full of boredom and anxiety, repeats nonsense words incessantly - and I keep getting stuck on the third item of my grocery list?
We need the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts - softening them to be willing to repent and seek to love and disciple each other. We need to build each other up - ask Him to prompt us to whisper, "love mercy" to each other, and also to ask the Lord to make our ears willing to hear it and repent. I need to minister to my husband and children. They need to minister to me. I need to humbly receive their love and admonishment, turn from myself and love and minister back. And none of us can do this without God's saving transformation of our hearts.
This isolation gives us an opportunity to make discipleship a very authentic kind of practice. We don't have the luxury of compartmentalizing ourselves, and revealing our need little by little. Gone are those times where I get to sip coffee with friends, and share just the tip of the iceberg of my great need for Christ. The truth of who I am and who (or what) I'm trusting in moment by moment is laid bare for everyone in this house to see. Loving and discipling each other costs more than what it usually does in the "normal" times - but that cost is a great sanctifying gift from a Loving Father.
I read this recently: "All of these cancellations are making some of us miserable, but only because we haven't let THE MOTHER OF ALL CANCELLATIONS lighten our hearts and the hearts of those under our roof. God canceled the record of debt that stood against us. He set it aside, nailing it to the cross (Col 2:13-14)."
How often is my heart being influenced by the loss of routine, of comfort and responsibility, the distraction of activity. And in that loss, I easily sin - complaining or punishing my family with a bad attitude. I reveal in that moment that my hope is in whatever was canceled - not in Jesus, who canceled my great debt. But I want to live in light of the truth! I want the mother of all cancellations [the Cross!] to rule over the relationships in my home - canceling out all the things I hold against my family, the people hoarding in the news, and my neighbors. I want the work of Jesus to transform my heart daily, hourly, minute by minute and second by second to walk humbly, justly, and kindly. Just imagine how joyful our hearts would be if we would live by that Great Cancellation! How deeply we would love and disciple one another in light of the mother of all cancellations!
Please pray for our family, as we invite the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts through Micah 6:8 - that I, and the people I love so dearly, would embrace this sanctifying work that is good and necessary for our growth. Pray that we would disciple and love each other well. And I will pray for you too. And together, may we rejoice in the mother of all cancellations, letting it invade our relationships in this time, and even pave the way for new ways to relate when things become normal again.