Social mercy or social justice?

I was reading a dear friends simple statement on the blind eye being turned on our elderly in the US when I realized something important. We rarely hear of people who deeply and profoundly follow Christ solicite for mercy, but we often seek to expose justice. What I mean is that there are a lot of groups seeking justice, and that is all very noble and grand but the Bible has things to say to us about social circumstances and how we should respond yet few dare to dig into what role if any we should proclaim.

I think it’s MOST clear in Micah 6, but that is a personal preference because the Lord is explaining why he is frustrated with Israel (paraphrase here mine) and then you hear in verses 6 & 7 the people ask God what he requires from us, what type of sacrifice he answers in verse 8. The message bible says it like this, “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.”

Or probably how you have heard it before in the NASB “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

What we have to ask ourselves then is what do we seek most? Do we seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God, or do we love justice, seeking man’s mercy and try to look like we walk with our God?

I know some people will say that they prefer the version that simply asks us to do what is right. You mean like the Good Samaritan in the parable? Oh, so go out of our way, become humble, serve others to the point of contamination and help save the dying? WOW> I do not live like that every day. Unless saving the dying is saving our home from the smells of the clogged toilet…after all the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention. I digress.

As I was saying, I am not always good at this seek justice thing…but I TRY! That’s a good place to start, for all of us. Not just to try to find time to see about helping others, but to literally just do something for half as much time as we spend on ourselves. Ouch.

So, instead of seeking mans mercy or as I see it; looking for approval from someone or worse to literally seek a forgiveness by means of working the world’s systems, why don’t we simply seek the Lord’s justice? We have a ton of references in scripture that point us to what God see’s as a good deed and just.

-We can be sure to not cast the first stone on a death sentence when we are ritaled in sin ourselves.
-We should offer kindness and generosity to widows, orphans and the hungry. Offering cool water (remember how much work that was), a meal, resources we know, the Salvation offer we all have available like Peter did, and we can be a friend to anyone.
-We can love others more than we love to pamper or look after ourselves.

It isn’t hard, but I had to seriously ponder tonight, what am I seeking? Do I long for the justice of orphans, those stuck in the sex industry, or those without a home? Then how am I making that happen? Whose eyes am I making wide with desperation for those that are hurting?

Or

Do I love to look like I have a cause? Appear to be righteous and angry out of concern for others when really a name for myself and my non-profit organization would be great? – And no, I do not have a non-profit organization, it’s just a thought. Do I seek man’s provisions…the government’s mercies (handouts) to sustain me?

Let me settle this for everyone, Jesus did not condemn the begger or those in need, he gave them a choice to be free. I don’t condemn any one for taking anything, when I am blessed by something or when I needed a little assistance with groceries I was a good stewart of that and honored it. When I didn’t truely NEED it, although it would have been convenient and nice (as I still qualified) I knew I could do without….that is when self-discipline takes over and we return the good deed so that someone in more need can have the resources. So, don’t hear me cry about how no one should receive.

I am simply stating…what is the motive? For me, I had to think but realized rather quickly that I don’t seek man’s justice anymore because I am so secure in having mercy in Christ that I stopped looking. Not that receiving blessings isn’t nice or welcomed here but they are sought after.

Once you have seen the face of injustice, or been the face of injustice, you never want to stop trying to balance the act of doing justice with the act of being grateful that you are not alone.

Chin up to those of you who are growing weary… chin up. And to those who thought I rambled tonight, well I did but less of a rambling and more of a muse to thought. I hope you ponder it all. Tell me how wrong I am or what you think of when you read Micah chapter 6.

2 thoughts on “Social mercy or social justice?

  1. That was a great message yesterday. I love how you pondered through it. I’ve been thinking a lot about how living life in focused gratitude moment by moment causes us to live very differently. The moments become packed with beauty and meaning and suddenly we are acutely aware of how good we have it. Along with that comes a keener awareness of how good others DON’T have it. So it is a two-pronged result: we become more grateful and more compassionate at the same time. It’s a good way to live–the only way that makes sense with regard to how and why we were created.

    I love your heart. I love your thoughts. I love YOU.

  2. Lisa, it’s called the narrow road for a reason. We often find people dying on the side of the road from the stones being tossed at them. I can honestly say I have been one of those people who stopped to help someone while someone else gave me a hard time about not “doing” enough in the “church building”. It’s a balance, you are absolutely correct. Finding it is easy – maintaining our good deeds of faith, grateful attitudes and still accepting the blessing in order to BE the blessing are the three things I think battle themselves in our home. After all, with a more grateful approach you are more compassionate and often self-loathing tries to sneak in. We are still the sons and daughters of a living God who wants to bless us twice as much when we are pouring out His love to others. We have to keep working on being a conduit for those blessings. Love you too!

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